How beautiful landscaping improves health and well-being for seniors.

As a professional in the landscape industry and someone with aging parents and in-laws, the stress of finding the right living situation for our loved ones can be overwhelming. It goes beyond financial concerns; we also aspire to place our loved ones in an environment they will truly enjoy, and it all begins with the external aesthetics.

In the domain of senior and assisted living facilities, the significance of establishing a supportive and enriching atmosphere cannot be emphasized enough. With the aging population on the rise, there is a growing awareness of how profoundly surroundings can influence the well-being of residents. An increasingly recognized focal point in this regard is the incorporation of beautiful landscapes into these facilities. Beyond mere aesthetics, a meticulously designed natural environment plays a pivotal role in elevating the quality of life for seniors.

The presence of a lush lawn, vibrant flowers, and calming water features has been proven to contribute to the overall well-being of seniors. Exposure to nature has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and enhanced mental health. In an environment where residents may face various health challenges, the therapeutic effects of beautiful landscapes become invaluable.

Access to well-maintained outdoor spaces encourages seniors to engage in physical activities, promoting a healthier lifestyle. Walking paths, gardens, and outdoor seating areas provide opportunities for light exercise and social interactions. Additionally, exposure to nature has been associated with cognitive benefits, potentially slowing down cognitive decline and improving memory.

Beautifully landscaped areas serve as inviting communal spaces, fostering social interactions among residents. Whether engaging in group activities, enjoying a family visit in a garden, or participating in outdoor events. This is vital for mental and emotional well-being.

Maintaining outdoor spaces can offer seniors a sense of purpose and engagement. Gardening clubs, outdoor yoga classes, or music events are just a few examples of activities that can be organized in these landscapes. Such activities contribute to a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, enhancing the overall quality of life for residents.

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure that outdoor spaces remain vibrant and welcoming. Lawns should be well-maintained, and seasonal flowers can be incorporated to provide visual variety throughout the year. Additionally, ensuring that these areas are easily accessible to all residents, including those with mobility challenges, is essential.

In the evolving landscape of senior and assisted living facilities, the incorporation of beautiful outdoor spaces is more than a luxury; it is a necessity for promoting the well-being of residents. Beyond the physical infrastructure, the beauty of nature has the power to uplift spirits, create a sense of purpose, and enhance the overall quality of life for seniors. As we continue to innovate in the realm of elder care, let us not underestimate the transformative impact that a carefully designed and maintained landscape can have on the lives of those who have contributed so much to our communities.

By Marc Angarano, ELM Client Services, North Region (Monroe CT)

ELM Rolls Out Landscape Platform for Senior Living

A new health care model is reshaping senior living as residential communities continue to raise the bar on amenities and innovation that improve the quality of life.

As this property market looks to a future where the population of seniors with incremental health care needs is growing, updating facility landscaping for aesthetics, and health and safety are no longer capital expenditures that can be put on hold.

ELM has identified five ways to prioritize improvements.

  • Update entrances and pedestrian areas for safety and flow
  • Create plant-filled, interactive outdoor spaces to heighten community engagement, support walking and fitness programs, and add curb appeal
  • Identify opportunities to transform underperforming areas into low-maintenance nature or activity spaces for bocce ball, croquet or putting greens.
  • Create a community garden, rooftop top garden, a composting center, or rain garden to create more opportunities for residents to engage over shared activities.
  • Create a tech-enabled, environmentally-friendly, resource-efficient and climate appropriate landscape maintenance program that reduces long-term costs and use practices that conserve water, energy, and soil health, limit waste and protect groundwater.

ELM’s team is experienced in this sector and understands its unique needs. Recently, we performed a complete makeover that included the installation a digitally controlled smart irrigation system, the natural pruning of dozens of shrubs and trees, layers of fresh mulch, splashes of seasonal color, and a refreshed entrance.

Enhancement Manager and project lead, Bobby Papotto, says, “Our connection with nature improves well-being and nowhere is this more important that when it comes to the specific needs of senior living residents, whether the facility is for independent living, assisted living or memory care. To make sure our landscapes support a range of quality of life goals, we look at soil health, plant material, biodiversity and habitat, and incorporate as much nature and natural elements, and safety features into the design and execution as possible.”

Landscaped spaces are an oasis for community engagement and safe socializing, and spending time in a healthy outdoor environment can make all the difference when it comes to choosing a senior community.

To learn more about ways landscaping can create an enhanced sense of community, contact ELM President, Bruce Moore Jr., at 203-316-5433.

 

 

Horticultural Therapy for Better Senior Health

An expanding senior population is creating renewed demand for high-quality senior housing.  And to us, high-quality means access to nature and using landscaping as a metric to rise to new market challenges and simultaneously improve the quality of life for residents across a spectrum of needs.

This is good news for facility and portfolio managers with capital improvement monies to invest as landscaping and outdoor amenities are adaptable, innovative and sustainable ways to gain competitive advantage.

The economic argument is compelling. Data suggests that an estimated 70% of Americans aged 65 or older may require long-term care. Coupled with a set of statistics suggesting that access to nature improves health care outcomes, and it adds up to landscaping easily delivering a measurable return on investment.

As the assisted living communities of the future take shape, here are four key landscape trends to put on your radar.

Gateway Landscaping and Showcase Features:

The point of entry for new residents and potential residents, and visiting guests, is the front door. In an era where screening devices and advanced safety protocols are the norm, strategically-placed landscaping can help soften the technology, minimize touchpoints and make your building’s main entrance look like a welcoming amenity space without compromising the need for security.

Outdoor Living Rooms:

Outdoor gatherings will continue to meet new standards for public health and safety, and we’re building functional amenity spaces that can host family visits and social gatherings, and are pet-friendly. With a renewed emphasis on an accessible and flexible outdoors, we’re seeing an increase in requests for balconies, patios, courtyards and other spaces that are tech-enabled, airy and ventilated, and meet new restrictions for disease prevention.

Water Features:

Water is a soothing element so it’s only natural that its ability to improve mood is a given. When designed for safety and installed correctly, and integrated with smart-technology, interactive fountains, pondless waterfalls, architectural lighting, and water-recycling and conservation systems are among our most requested outdoor features.

 Therapeutic Specialty Gardens & Biophilic Elements:

Simply put, gardens are the fastest and most cost-effective way to add quantifiable value. Value in contributing to health and well-being, value as a participatory activity center, value as a community gathering place and value in what gardens provide as a multi-sensory experience.  At any stage of our lives, access to nature is always better than being cooped up.  For senior communities, gardens offer ways for residents to interact with plants and engage in nature-based activities: harvestable vegetable gardens and orchards; butterfly gardens, planted with flowering perennials that attract hummingbirds and beneficial pollinators (avoiding plants that attract bees or stinging insects); and bird gardens, with plants that provide forage and nesting habitats for migrating birds or waterfowl.

For more information on how ELM’s senior housing specialists rehabilitate outdoor spaces for a spectrum of specialized needs, contact President, Bruce Moore Jr. at 203-316-5433.