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Mental health for older adults: How being around nature can help

home near nature

Mental health for older adults: How being around nature can help

Many studies have looked into the benefits of nature to mental health. People who spend time in nature or have indoor greenery tend to experience more positive emotions, joy, and higher productivity with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Obviously, being around nature can foster better mental health. Problem is, not many of us have this access to nature, especially those who live in urban cities. I explained the effects of urbanization in cities on mental health in this article.

Notably, city dwellers usually face more stress, anxiety, and depression.

And there's one common denominator in urban cities: apartments are close to high-traffic areas, with little or no space for greenery.

The available land space is occupied by residential and commercial buildings. The one thing that could calm the stress and tension of such a busy lifestyle, i.e., nature, is almost non-existent. And very few people have the time to visit parks on the weekends.

So, what can we do?

One way to foster better mental health is to bring some elements of nature indoors. Indoor plants, nature photographs, etc., can generate calmness and ease your stress levels. Another way is to dwell close to nature, such as a wide stretch of vegetation, forests, a lake, or a river.

This is backed by a new study among older adults.

According to a Washington State University study, a 10% increase in the natural environment around older adults' residences reduced their tendency to report poor mental health.

This natural environment may include forests, parks, and water bodies.

What I find most interesting and useful about this study is that, older adults are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, which can further increase their risks of dementia. By choosing retirement homes around nature, older adults can protect their mental health and make the most of their final years.

If you're an older adult or have a loved one looking to retire, you can add proximity to nature as one of the factors to consider when choosing a retirement home. Although there are many contributing factors to mental health, just being close to beautiful greenery can do a world of good.

 

If you need help with your mental health challenge, we're here for you.

Whether it's depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or end-of-life issues, get in touch with us at Hope Mental Health, and we'll be only too happy to give you the help you need.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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