How Does Spending Time Outside Help Depression?

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Posted May 22nd, 2019 in Health & Wellbeing

How Does Spending Time Outside Help Depression?

It's believed that there are many elderly men and women who suffer from depression. It can be hard to diagnose. Indicators include being easily agitated, sleeping more, waking in the night and having a hard time getting back to sleep, and changes to appetite. All of those may seem normal in old age.

Depression can go hand-in-hand with certain chronic illnesses. Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease are some of the reasons seniors may become depressed. It's disheartening to learn that your health is not ideal.

Therapies to Ease Depression

Medications don't have to be the only treatment option. Your parent may find it's more effective to join a support group or talk to a licensed therapist. Dietary changes can help. Limiting sugars and processed foods and focusing on foods that naturally boost serotonin levels may be better.

Exercise is essential. It's best if that exercise gets your parent outside in the fresh air and sunlight. Sunlight is a natural way to get vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with bone strength, but it also improves your overall mood.

Getting Out Into Nature is Ideal

According to a study, it was found found that being outdoors did wonders for mental health. The benefits occurred whether the participant was in a rural or urban area, but those who went on a 90-minute walk in nature stopped focusing on negative thoughts.

With many parks offering paved or groomed nature trails, your mom and dad could get out and walk in nature. Even if a wheelchair is needed, many state and city parks have trails that accommodate wheelchair users.

If there are no trails that work with your parents' mobility levels, that's okay. Find a park where there are benches. Your parents can sit and watch birds flit from tree to tree. An outdoor cafe with comfortable seating in the sun will also help get your parent outside and enjoying the fresh air.

Back at home, you could set up a raised garden near a deck, sidewalk, or patio that your parents can tend. They'll be outside and also reap the rewards of having fresh vegetables later in the season.

Hire Help if It's Needed

Your parents may be ready to have home care services helping with ambulation. Home care services providers partner your parents with a caregiver who can help with housework, join them outside, or take them to area attractions and stores. Call our home care services agency to arrange the home care services that will most help your mom and dad.

Sources: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature
https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-older-adults-more-facts

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