Why the great outdoors are so important for care homes
27 April 2020
When you think of a care home, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
It’s probably not the garden – if the care home you’ve thought of has one.
But gardens, and outdoor spaces in general, have long been shown to have a massive, underestimated effect on people’s health and wellbeing.
Even just sitting outdoors in nature for 17 minutes a day significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research last year from the University of Exeter showed.
And to feel the benefits, you don’t even have to sit outside, researchers said. Growing evidence suggests just living in a greener area boosts your health.
At Exemplar Health Care, every one of our homes has access to outdoor space - and many have beautiful landscaped gardens.
We know how much our 700+ adults – over half aged between 46-65 – living in our 31 complex needs care homes love being outdoors.
And it’s not hard to see why. As well as enjoying sitting outside, many of our residents use the gardens for activities.
Here’s some fabulous examples of what goes on outdoors at our care homes:
Growing sunflowers in Ravensdale, Leeds:
Michelle, who lives at Ravensdale, Leeds took great pride in growing sunflowers in the garden last year – and it showed. Some of her sunflowers grew to be seven feet tall!
A footy game at Dearnevale, Barnsley:
With the lovely spring weather, a resident and a care team worker at Dearnevale, Barnsley took the opportunity for a one-a-side game of football.
A gardening job at Bridgewood Mews, Tipton:
Corrine, a service user at Bridgewood Mews in Tipton, Birmingham, asked the housekeeping team and asked for a gardening job. They gladly accepted the help!
A specially landscaped garden at St Andrew’s Court, Hull:
Last year, in 2019, when St Andrew’s Court in Hull was being built, young volunteers from Youth in Nature, a lottery-funded wildlife organisation, helped design the garden.
Thanks to their work, residents at the home enjoy freshly-planted evergreen trees, flowerbeds, a raised herb garden, bird boxes, and a pond.
An exercise group at Yarningdale, Codnor:
Depending on the weather, Yarningdale’s exercise group of residents and care colleagues likes spending time in the garden.
They don’t take themselves too seriously – and enjoy a good laugh and dance! Recently, a neighbour even phoned up to say how much the group had brightened up their day as they could see everyone having a good time.
Games and arts and crafts at Havenmere, Immingham:
At Havenmere, the spring sunshine brought an opportunity for fun in the garden.
The care team and residents recently enjoyed playing badminton, feeding the birds, planting flowers and decorating the space with arts and crafts. There was also an opportunity to stroke Ollie, the resident cat!
A water fight at Thames House, Rochdale:
Over at Thames House in Rochdale, the garden recently proved a great staging ground for a water fight. Carers and residents had a lot of fun cooling down with water guns.
Setting up bird boxes at Parkside, Tipton:
The daughter of a care colleague at Parkside recently made two bird boxes for our home. The residents were delighted to see them, and are looking forward to birds spending time there!
And finally: annual summer fairs!
At least once a year, our care homes open up to the community and bring the whole community together with a summer fair.
Last year, Lakeview in Leigh marked its first anniversary with a barbecue, a live singer, a cake and plant stall, and even a mini-petting zoo.
Next time you get the chance to visit one of our homes, make sure to see the garden!
What we do:
Exemplar Health Care provides quality complex needs care homes for adults with complex needs, including neuro-disabilities, brain injuries and stroke, mental health conditions, autism, learning disabilities and dementia.
With 32 homes – and counting – across Yorkshire, the Midlands, the North West and North East, Exemplar Health Care homes are supportive, welcoming, community-based services which support people to reach their goals.