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Befriending the Earth and Its Benefits for Seniors in Hospice Care and Everywhere
PaulineB
April 21, 2024

Reminding humanity to apply diligent care to Earth —  the only known planet in the universe confirmed to host life — has been celebrated every 22nd of April since 1970.

In line with Earth Day’s vision to consider more sustainable and mutually beneficial activities for the planet and its dwellers, here are earth-friendly tips based on scientific research that you can use in planning nature-inspired and earth-friendly activities for seniors in your hospice care facility or at home. 

Ask your seniors

First, ask your seniors what they like doing. This ensures that whatever activities you include in your plan will have their seal of approval.

Doing activities that invite their interest not only helps assure their engagement but more importantly, leaves them with a sense of enjoyment, making it easier for you to ask them to do the activity again another time.

Or if the activity your seniors choose to do can be done indoors, you can encourage them to do so in a nearby park or the garden.

The nurture of nature: Benefits for the body

Seeing trees of green and roses of red doesn’t only make for a beautiful opening line for a song, as it turns out, it is scientifically proven to boost your physiological health as well. 

The authors of a study published in 2019 examined thirty-seven articles that presented evidence of the physiological effects of viewing nature. One of the purposes of the study was to discuss the potential of nature therapy as a type of preventive medicine. 

The majority of the studies, the authors noted, pointed to more relaxed body responses when viewing natural landscapes from display stimuli, such as photos, videos, and virtual reality than the control group.

Meanwhile, studies that used real nature stimuli reported that their participants experienced positive effects on the activities of their cerebral and autonomic nervous systems compared to participants of the control group. 

The nurture of nature: Benefits for the mind

A 2019 review by University of Chicago Ph.D. Marc Berman and his student, Kathryn Schertz, found that experimental and correlational research point to benefits for the brain when interacting with nature. 

They found that green views and spaces:

  • Near schools – Show cognitive development in children
  • Near children’s homes – Promote self-control behaviors
  • In neighborhoods – Show better attentional functioning*

The study added that adults exposed to natural environments also lead to improved:

  • Working memory
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Attentional control

*The experiment studied adults assigned to public housing units exposed to more green spaces than those living in units with less access to natural environments. 

Even birdsongs — whether hearing them from live birds or a recording — alleviate negative emotions, studies show

So long as circumstances and their health allow it, including nature in activities you have in store for seniors in your hospice care facility or at home is an idea you can certainly rely on. After all, the Earth is the only known planet in the known universe that has the wonder that is nature — and all it has to offer. 

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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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Commentator
January 1, 2022
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