Professor Mary Marshall will be giving a seminar on the ‘Outside World and Wellbeing’ on 29thSeptember at 2.00 in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
There are lots of serious mental and physical health benefits of going outside. Here are a few:-
- 20 minutes outside in the sun will give us our daily dose of vitamin D which is so essential for bones and muscles (and it looks as if Vitamin D is implicated in dementia too)
- going outside lowers blood pressure, we get exercise outside which is essential for all of us and helps keep dementia at bay
- going outside is good for our mental health especially if it involves looking at or being alongside nature
One of the benefits is our spiritual wellbeing; which will be different for each of us but equally important.
This is all blindingly obvious – we all need to be outside and probably cannot contemplate being permanently stuck inside or depending on someone else to take us.
Yet this is the predicament of hundreds of older people in care homes, hospitals and even at home.
So why is this? It must be due to a lot of factors. If we depend on staff to take us out – they are often too busy and they often do not understand why it is so important. The weather is also unpredictable: it can be raining or about to rain or has just rained. The building may not provide easy access to outside and the outside spaces may not be well designed. Hospices understand how crucial nature is for most people at the end of life and they always have lovely grounds and wide doors so beds can be wheeled out. There may not be a toilet nearby so people get anxious about getting there quickly if they need to. Another reason is that some of our outside spaces are not appealing to us – we all have very different backgrounds and different preferences for outside spaces. People, who have always lived in remote rural areas for example, feel the need to look at fields or at the sea, rather than a rose garden.