For many seniors, Florida has become synonymous with retirement. Droves of seniors come to our beautiful beaches each year, mostly in the fall and winter months and after a few years of “snow-birding”, many choose to retire here permanently. As many of us know, the warm sun, fresh air and Vitamin D can do wonders for the aging body, not to mention the health benefits of long walks on the beach or nearly year-round pool exercise. Unfortunately, as the body ages and health challenges arise, seniors are forced indoors due to limited mobility and the healing benefits of nature are exchanged for bed rest, rehabilitation facilities, isolation, and microwavable food– not how they envisioned their golden years. Several studies are currently underway identifying the health effects of an indoor lifestyle and the preliminary results are showing these 6 dangers:
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in resting heart rate
- New or worsening depression
- New or worsening anxiety
- Rate of healing slows
- Vitamin deficiencies increase, causing falls
From working with seniors for over 30 years, we have seen that even a little sunshine and socialization can do wonders in reversing these health issues and by making a few small changes, the patient’s original health issues start to improve at a faster pace. Just 15 minutes a day of getting in the fresh air will start to make improvements. The nurses at Bayshore agree that if socialization and some sort of mental or physical activity can be added to the daily routine, seniors will show more rapid improvements in their current health issues. This is why each nurse customizes a care plan for our clients to include activities that will stimulate healing and mental enrichment.
Whether your loved one lives alone, in an assisted care setting or is receiving in-home care, it is vital to remember to engage them in nature and build relationships. If your loved one intended to retire here in the Sunshine State, give them the gift of a daily dose of sunshine. What a privileged we have living in a place with such wonderful weather for all ages!