Summertime Is Replenish Time: Benefits of Getting Seniors Outdoors in Washington DC

Replenish Time

Overtime as seniors lose independence they are more like to stay indoors. Moreover, after completing a slew of duties, senior caregivers often overlook the importance of getting seniors outdoors to get more sunshine during the summer months. During the summer months, increased daylight hours allow us to take advantage of more time in direct sunlight. Winter months cause a significant decline in vitamin D, which leads to a weakened immune system, decreased absorption of calcium and in some cases depression also known as the “winter blues”. Seniors are at greater risk of broken bones and depressive episodes, which makes vitamin D exposure essential. In addition, higher levels of oxygen from being outdoors is essential for health brain functioning. In the Washington, DC area, caregivers often have more responsibilities and a higher caregiver to client ratio. These conditions decrease the likelihood that clients receive more 1:1 time to ensure their overall well-being. It is essential that families hire senior caregivers that are holistically trained to provide care that treats all of their needs to increase their health and longevity.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a crucial element that aids in the absorption of calcium. As seniors age they are more prone to broken bones from slips and falls. Frequent injuries in seniors are linked to rapid health declines. Many clients have care plans in place to help reduce their risk of slips and falls. However, in some cases this is inevitable. Preventive healthcare regimens are critical in minimizing the risk of broken bones when seniors slip or fall.  Studies have shown that vitamin D is also an essential element in impacting serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that decreases symptoms of depression. Depression and other mood changes are common amongst seniors and are linked to rapid physical and mental health declines. Although vitamin supplements can be helpful, vitamin D obtained naturally through sunlight has shown to be the best way for the body to receive its benefits. Thus, getting seniors outdoors is crucial to aid their vitamin D absorption. Holistic caregivers are more knowledgeable on the holistic benefits of getting seniors outdoors in the sun. However, elderly clients are at greater risk of develop sun burns and even skin cancer due to decreased thickness in the skin.

Oxygen

There is no air that feels fresher than summer air. Summer time is the best time to indulge in higher levels of oxygen. A study conducted by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, showed that oxygen levels change with the season and peak during the summer. This believes to be attributed to higher output of plants that have blossomed. Oxygen is a crucial element for our functioning, as is assist with decreasing stress, Increasing alertness, and energy. Additionally, oxygen deficiencies are linked to memory loss and overall declines in brain functioning. As seniors age energy levels decline and fatigue becomes a common experience associated with old age. However, engaging in deep breathing and being outdoors are great ways to combat fatigue and increase energy. Senior caregivers must provide a regimen that works to increase oxygen levels to maintain healthy functioning. This is even more critical for clients struggling with severe forms of dementia.

Helpful Tips for Senior Caregivers in Washington DC:
  • Senior Care workers should plan activities such as puzzle, dominoes and knitting outside.
  • For immobile clients, lower the AC and open as many windows as possible in the house.
  • Help clients plant new flowers or produce to get them interested in going outside to track growth.
  • Invite pet owners in the Washington DC neighborhood, and encourage clients to go outside to pet them.
  • Senior Caregivers should encourage clients by teaching them how oxygen improves their health.
  • Be sure to put a generous amount of sunscreen on clients to reduce the risk of sunburn.
  • Make sure seniors drink plenty of water to reduce the risk of dehydration.