When asking nursing home residents about their experiences and memories related to contact with nature, this study shows that they acquired a change of environment, beneficial sensory experiences, meaningful activities, social interaction and good memories. They also got in touch with feelings such as sadness at impaired functional ability and the loss of childhood landscapes and geographical affiliation. Conversations inspired by photographs of different kinds of landscape activated memories and stories linked to their roots and identity. The findings are in line with research and relevant theories.
Based on the findings, we recommend a practice that makes it easy for elderly people to spend time outdoors regularly. Moreover, we recommend that being outdoors is established as a regular and natural component of the therapeutic environment at nursing homes, based on the individual resident’s preferences and resources.
Research communities in this field are challenged to explore and describe further relations between ageing and experiences of the natural environment. In addition, research should address how experiencing nature on a regular basis can promote well-being, quality of life, improved functioning and greater satisfaction of the basic needs of elderly people. We also encourage researchers to identify similarities and differences between residents’ needs and wishes for good days at the nursing home and the staff’s expectations and priorities in the everyday life of the nursing home.
Read this fascinating Norwegian research study from 2018 at…