The Importance of Being Outside

//The Importance of Being Outside

The Importance of Being Outside

Every morning, the first thing I do is pour myself a big mug of coffee.  The second thing I do is take my standard poodle,  Lucy for a walk.  Today, as I watched the sun rise over the maple trees I was in awe of the shades of red, orange and yellow I observed-the leaves seemed to be glowing as the sun began to shine on them.  I often feel very grateful that I live in the country and can walk in my woods each morning, but today I felt especially so.  Its a quiet and peaceful moment before the hectic day begins.  I decided to cut some smaller branches and bring them inside so I could enjoy their beauty throughout the day.

Pruning shears in hand, I began to think about all of the elders living in the long term care communities I visit on a regular basis.  Would they enjoy the colors and wonders of nature this fall?  Was anyone taking them outside or bringing the outside in for those who may be bed bound?  It made me sad to think about the reality-many of of our elders in long term care communities have very little access to the outdoors.  Being outside feeds our body and soul.  Research studies have shown that time spent outside can help us sleep better by maintaining or resetting our circadian rhythms, makes us feel more creative, reduces our pain, relaxes, provides a dose of vitamin D, and can make it easier to concentrate.

So take a moment from your busy day, walk outside with an elder, sit on a bench, admire the colors, collect leaves, cut branches, inhale deeply and appreciate what is all around us.

By | 2018-10-29T13:09:48+00:00 October 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer Brush
Jennifer A. Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP has been working for over 20 years to change the face of dementia care in hospitals, assisted living communities, nursing homes and home care. Prior to establishing her own practice, Jennifer served for many years as the Executive Director of IDEAS Institute, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of older adults through the conduct of applied research. She is an international speaker and recognized speech-language pathologist known for her work in the areas of memory, swallowing, and environmental interventions for people with dementia. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to dementia, hearing impairment, dining, dysphagia, and the long-term care environment. Her research and consulting in the area of environmental modifications has resulted in improved functioning for people with dementia. Jennifer offers interactive and educational presentations and coaching that help clients bridge the gap between current research findings and the care needs of people with dementia. Jennifer Brush is the co-author of four books: Creative Connections in Dementia Care™; I Care; Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit™ (ECAT) and A Therapy Technique for Improving Memory: Spaced Retrieval. She is the author of Meal Time Matters and Meal Time Matters at Home, training programs that build nursing assistants' and home caregivers' skills related to dining, swallowing disorders, and safe feeding assistance. Jennifer has authored over 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, served as guest editor of the journals Seminars in Speech and Language and Perspectives in Gerontology, volunteered as Chair of Professional Development in Gerontology for the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group, and was an editorial reviewer for SpeechPathology.com. Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Jennifer is honored to be appointed by the Executive Director of AMI to serve as an inaugural member of the Advisory Group for Montessori for Aging and Dementia. This group is responsible for writing the AMI standards for Montessori dementia programs. Jennifer presented her research in the area of dementia at the first international conference for Montessori environments for dementia in Sydney, Australia in 2014, and spoke at the annual AMI meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015. She will return to Sydney in November, 2015 to speak about creating supportive environments for the aging.
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