How Does Spending Time Outside Boost Cognitive Health in Older Adults?

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Spending time outside is known to increase emotional wellbeing, and recent studies have shown that kids who get recess time outdoors tend to do better in school. However, people sometimes forget those same benefits can also help seniors who need to do everything they can to increase their cognitive functioning. Seniors and their caregivers can use these mental health benefits of being outdoors to get motivated to spend the day in the sunshine.

Boost Vitamin D Production in the Body

The body needs to receive a certain amount of sunlight each day to produce vitamin D. Now that more people are spending time indoors and wearing sunscreen when they’re outside, it’s common for seniors to have vitamin D deficiencies. A lack of this essential vitamin causes symptoms such as confusion and drowsiness. To achieve cognitive benefits, seniors only need to spend about 15 minutes outside soaking up the sun each day.

If you usually help your loved one get out and about but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, McKinney families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.

Regulate Sleep Patterns

Seniors who don’t get enough sleep also have difficulty thinking clearly and making rational decisions. Getting more exposure to sunlight during the day helps the body produce the hormones it needs for sleep regulation. Additionally, outdoor activities tend to be more physically stimulating, which ensures seniors are tired at bedtime. With better sleep, seniors should be more alert during the day.

Push Troublesome Thoughts Away

Seniors living with anxiety may not be able to think about other important things. For instance, they might not be able to focus properly while paying bills if they’re worried about things such as their health. Spending time in nature has a relaxing effect on the mind, which helps seniors regain their focus and let go of worrying about problems they cannot fix at the moment. Once the mind is clear, seniors can put all their focus on the tasks at hand.

Mental and emotional challenges are common for many aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. In McKinney, senior care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Get Blood Flowing to the Brain

Outdoor activities usually involve some sort of physical exertion. Whether a senior takes a walk or enjoys tossing a ball back and forth with a caregiver, every little movement increases blood circulation through the body. As oxygenated blood makes its way to the brain, seniors find they can think better. Keeping the blood flowing to the brain also reduces the risk of strokes, which can have a negative impact on cognitive functioning.

Keep Learning New Things

There’s no need for seniors to stop learning when the outdoors holds all kinds of new opportunities to stretch the mind. Seniors can choose to take up a new outdoor hobby, such as gardening or bird-watching, that encourages them to strengthen their intellectual abilities by researching new information. Seniors are also likely to meet other people while they’re outside. Talking to a new friend in the park or chatting with a neighbor keeps communication skills fresh.

Seniors with mobility issues or health conditions who need assistance with getting out of the house can benefit from the help of trained professional caregivers. McKinney home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 548-0392.

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