Ways to Help Seniors with Alzheimer’s Connect with Nature
Learn about the benefits of helping older people with dementia or Alzheimer’s get outside and interact with the beauty of nature
Frontier’s award-winning SPARK program is specifically designed to help people with Alzheimer’s disease live their lives with a real sense of purpose and meaningfulness. SPARK has its foundation in the early research of Maria Montessori, as well as the later research and work of Dr. Cameron Camp. Dr. Camp determined that providing life-enhancing experiences through activities to older adults with Alzheimer’s had a significantly positive impact on their well-being, both physically and mentally.
SPARK engages our residents in proven rehabilitative strategies that encourage interaction with others, optimize cognitive skills and instill a real sense of purpose and accomplishment in their daily lives, despite what deficits may be present.
One of the most popular SPARK activities we have at Frontier involves bringing our residents outside to convene with nature. Initially, some family members express concern about taking their loved ones with Alzheimer’s outdoors for safety reasons. Our families can rest assured that the seniors who participate in our SPARK activities are safe, supervised, and in good hands.
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The Benefits of Outdoor Experiences for Seniors Living with Alzheimer’s
Whether outdoor activities include walks in nature, gardening, having a picnic, exercising, or playing games, we have something of interest for all residents.
Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of helping older people with dementia or Alzheimer’s get outside and interact with the beauty of nature.
From a physical standpoint, spending time outdoors has been shown to help seniors sleep better, and even mild exercise can enhance memory function, overall awareness, and verbal expression skills. Finally, being outside in the fresh air feels good and increases energy levels.
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s suffer from high stress levels and an overall sense of agitation. Going outside can not only improve people’s mood, but it also has been known to lower stress and uplift spirits. In addition, time outdoors can help a senior feel more independent, which can notably boost self-esteem and confidence. Being in a natural environment also has a great calming effect that can last for hours.
Spending time outdoors with others can go a long way in helping seniors with Alzheimer’s feel less isolated and more connected with caregivers and other residents. This type of environment lends itself to enhanced interactions, as everyone is sharing the same meaningful experience. Whether it inspires more conversation among participants or they decide to take in nature’s beauty in silence, the encounter can instill a sense of bonding among everyone present.
Tailor Fit Experiences Based on Ability & Strengths
One of the many unique aspects about the Frontier SPARK program is our use of proven assessment tools to ensure that the outdoor experience matches each resident’s capabilities and strengths. When planning an outdoor activity with residents, great care is used to ensure that the experience will meet their unique needs.
Learn More about SPARK
In addition to the many benefits that seniors can gain from spending time in nature, our SPARK program offers a variety of other activities that have brought our residents a real sense of purpose and meaningfulness to their lives. If you would like to learn more about Frontier’s award-winning SPARK program, contact us today. We invite you to visit one of our beautiful communities, take a tour and speak with our friendly and compassionate staff.