The importance of outdoor space in care home design
Sunlight and fresh air is important to everyone – it promotes good sleep hygiene, it provides us with much needed vitamin D for healthy bones, and goes hand in hand with exercise which, of course, is essential.
For the elderly, however, the benefits are even more wide reaching, which is why the integration of outdoor space in care home design is vital for residents’ long-term health.
Let’s explore these benefits further.
As well as promoting good sleep hygiene and providing a source of vitamin D, spending time outdoors can also:
● Lower cortisol levels, the hormone related to stress
● Lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes
● Reduce inflammation, protecting against arthritis
Life in care homes can be a difficult adjustment to make. Providing enough outdoor space is a good way to make this transition smoother. Spending time outside is known to:
● Reduce levels of anxiety
● Improve self-esteem
● Reduce feelings of helplessness and dependency
● Improve concentration
On top of the mental and physical benefits, having enough outdoor space in a care home also allows residents to socialise better. Providing space for familiar group activities like walks and gardening can strengthen bonds and prompt positive memories.
How to integrate outdoor space properly
● Accessible: A well-designed care home garden should be easily accessible from indoors, so pathways need to be clear and surfaces level.
● Simple design: To help residents navigate the space, the design should be as simple as possible. Pathways should lead back to the point where they began, and materials like gravel and bark should be avoided as they could throw residents off balance.
● Seating areas: For residents with mobility issues, providing enough seating areas is crucial. Ideally, these should be sheltered from sun and strong winds, and provide enough room for wheelchairs
It’s not easy to incorporate all of the above into your care home design, but with the right property consultants at your side, it’s much easier. Here at Aedifice Partnership, we manage new care and retirement village construction projects throughout the UK. For further details on the services Aedifice Partnership offer, visit www.aedifice.co.uk or call 0800 151 0234.