Spending time outdoors is good for everyone. You can’t help but feel calmer after a long hike in the mountains or a short stroll on the beach. Even getting out into your backyard can make a difference to your mood. So it makes sense that getting outside is good for people with dementia too.
Studies have shown that outdoor spaces like gardens and courtyards can provide sensory stimulation and trigger memories for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Flowers, trees, water and wildlife – even when seen from indoors – can have a calming, healing effect, helping improve mood and reduce agitation without the use of drugs.
Here’s how to help your loved one enjoy the great outdoors:
If you have a yard, getting outdoors is easy. Whether your loved one wants to walk, sit and relax in a comfy chair, or even help with spring planting, they’ll probably enjoy the fresh air and the chance to do something different.
Strolling for stress relief
If your loved one is mobile, taking them for a gentle walk can be beneficial. Find a park or botanic garden near you – look for well maintained paths and gentle slopes rather than steep hills and rocky terrain. If your loved one is less able, you can still take them for a walk in a wheelchair.
Although it’s not quite the same as getting outside, seeing plants and trees may also help people with dementia feel calmer. Think about adding a few low-maintenance potted plants to your loved one’s space, or moving a comfortable chair to a window with a view of plants and trees.