Benefits of Fresh Air for Seniors This Spring

May 15, 2020 | BY PHS Staff

This spring, especially with so many of us being cooped up indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to get outside and get active. This is true also for seniors who are even more bound to their homes during these times, as they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and therefore are hunkering down to an even stricter extent.

The average American spends 90 percent of their life indoors, and as we get older, we become even more inclined to stay put and not venture out.

As a caregiver for your senior loved one, it’s a good idea to get them out of the house a bit more this spring so they can reap the benefits of fresh air. Senior home care services can fill in the gaps as well, providing companion care as necessary.

Here are some benefits of fresh air, especially for seniors.

Increased Vitamin D Levels

Dubbed the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D plays a big role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in blood – vital for maintaining strong, healthy bones. It can also help fight off osteoporosis, cancer and depression. However, it’s also important to protect the skin when out for prolonged periods of time. So, be sure to maintain a balance of some limited sun exposure on short walks plus the use of sunscreen when out for extended periods.

Faster Healing

Spending time outdoors in the sun may help you heal from an illness or injury faster, with studies showing that those exposed to more natural light enjoy speedier recoveries and experience less pain than people exposed to artificial light.

Increased Physical Activity

When outdoors, we are more likely to engage in physical activities than when indoors. Good suggestions include walking, gardening and other recreational activities.

Less Boredom

Going outside also gets your brain moving. Even just sitting outside or taking a short stroll gives you the sensory stimulation from nature that you need to eliminate boredom – a real concern for our seniors who are home bound.

More Social Opportunities

Outdoor space allows seniors to interact with others. Even just waving to a neighbor or having a quick exchange with the mailman can boost self-esteem and positivity. This keeps seniors from feeling lonely and out of touch, which could result in depression.

More Energy

Getting outside for fresh air at least once a day improves vitality and infuses you with energy. Plus, being outside enjoying nature makes people feel more alive.

Some Ideas for Outdoor Activities

Check out these easy ways for seniors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine as part of at home care:

  • Take a walk around the block
  • Work in the flower bed or garden
  • Read on the patio
  • Play or watch an outdoor sport or game
  • Have a picnic

Tips for Getting Seniors Outside

This may be easier said than done, especially if your senior loved one is resistant to change, is in pain or can’t get around very easily. Here are some suggestions to get them outside.

  • Suggest they sit by an open window while reading the newspaper or sipping a cup of tea. The fresh air on their face could inspire them to get outside later.
  • If they have a covered patio or porch or a fenced-in back yard, suggest they sit out there to do some reading.
  • Set up a bird feeder so they can watch it through their window or porch. If they like that, you may suggest going on a walk around the neighborhood to view more birds.
  • Plant flowers or a small garden to attract butterflies. They can admire the blooms and the beautiful creatures they attract.
  • Establish an outdoor routine that could start just by walking with them out to the mailbox each day. Not only will this make them feel useful, it will improve their coordination, stamina and strength.

Contact Preferred HealthStaff

To learn more about how our senior care services ensure your loved ones are getting the fresh air or exercise they need, please contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.