Research shows that spending time in nature can improve seniors’ cognitive function, sleep, and happiness while reducing anxiety.1

After all, what’s more rejuvenating than a lazy picnic in the park or a stroll through the woods catching up with your closest friends?

Spending time outdoors can benefit people of all ages, potentially enhancing physical and mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life. In last month’s blog post, we explored some of the specific advantages for seniors. 

These benefits included increasing vitamin D intake, encouraging physical activity, and reducing loneliness in retirement. This month, we’re sharing some tips you can use to help your senior loved one enjoy more precious time outdoors. 

6 Tips to Help a Senior Relative Get Outdoors

1.Look for outdoor events in their neighborhood. 

Organized outdoor activities might be available in their area as the weather improves. For Hendersonville locals, hendersonville.com2 has a handy list of upcoming outdoor events in the community (as added by users). Many include details on difficulty level, distance, and cost. Events advertised in the coming weeks include everything from hiking trails and river excursions to scavenger hunts and bird walks.

2.Work with their needs and start small. 

For seniors who have lost their confidence following a fall, illness, injury, or even simply a long period of staying indoors, the prospect of venturing outside can be daunting. Always consider their capabilities and suggest activities they enjoy and feel comfortable with. For example, if your loved one has yet to go out in public for a long time, they might initially prefer spending time in the garden or on their patio. 

3.Encourage them to enjoy a hobby they love outdoors. 

Enjoying fresh air in retirement doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel. Does your mom, dad, or relative love nothing more than relaxing with a good book, painting, knitting, crafting, playing cards, or doing puzzles and jigsaws? 

If they can, encourage them to indulge in their favorite activity outside (perhaps in the garden or at the local park). In Hendersonville, spring can be the ideal season to spend time relaxing outdoors – the flowers are in bloom, and temperatures are pleasant but not scorching!

4.Take them on a fun day trip. 

Does your relative have a cherished location they used to go to when they were younger, or is there a place they’ve always wanted to go in retirement but have yet to get around to visiting? Organizing to go somewhere they really love together could be the perfect motivation to get outside and explore.

5.Don’t forget outdoor safety. 

If you’re busy organizing your loved one’s mobility aids and medications and planning a route or destination they feel comfortable with, it might be easy for the basics of outdoor safety to slip your mind. Remember essentials like staying indoors during the heat of the day, ensuring your relative is protected from the sun with appropriate clothing, SPF, and sunglasses, and packing plenty of food and water (or electrolyte drinks, if required). 

6.Update their mobility aids if needed. 

Suppose your senior loved one feels unsteady or fears falling again after a previous incident. In that case, they may worry about getting hurt or being embarrassed in public if they leave the house. Mobility aids are a lifeline for many, and research has shown that seniors typically perceive them to be positive and helpful in maintaining independence.3 

Finding the right cane, scooter, or walker that empowers your loved one to feel confident and independent could be just what they need to start enjoying the outdoors safely. Of course, if your relative is having issues with their mobility, it’s important to seek professional advice from their dedicated physician or physical therapist first.

Outdoor Activity Ideas for Seniors in Retirement

      • Birdwatching
      • Picnics in the garden
      • Gardening/growing vegetables
      • Watching wildlife/butterflies
      • Outdoor sport (e.g. golf, tennis, croquet)
      • Outdoor exercise (e.g., yoga, aerobics)
      • Painting or crafts
      • Fishing
      • Visiting a farmer’s market
      • Al Fresco dining
      • Visiting the zoo
      • Meditation
      • Barbecues with family
      • Volunteering
      • Hiking in the woods
      • Coffee on the patio

It’s not always possible for a family caregiver to help a senior get outside, and you should only do so if it’s safe and recommended by their physician. Things like poor mobility, dementia, and chronic health issues can all make venturing outdoors much trickier. If you feel your loved one is struggling to get out of the house as much as they’d like, finding a senior living community with accessible outdoor areas could help them start a new chapter in their retirement.

Experience Hendersonville at Its Best 

Exploring the Outdoors at New Hope Senior Living

A 2020 review4 found that providing plenty of well-maintained greenery, gardens, features of interest, trees, and seasonal plants can positively influence residents’ use of outdoor spaces in senior living communities. Other important factors included safe and easy-to-navigate pathways, plenty of shaded areas, and organized outdoor activities. This review also found that having adequate staff members who weren’t too busy to help senior care residents get outside was important.

Our outdoor spaces are our pride and joy at New Hope Senior Living. Spanning across an impressive 18 acres of lush and well-maintained greenery, our grounds contain plenty of wooded areas for lounging in the shade and escaping the heat of the Hendersonville sunshine. With a relaxing private orchard, residents can even have the satisfaction of nurturing and picking their fruits. Many residents also enjoy gardening, or planting vegetables and herbs.

We want our residents to enjoy our beautiful outdoor spaces as much as possible, and our sumptuous, state-of-the-art golf carts can help! Moreover, as a small senior care community housing up to 13 residents with an exceptional staff-to-resident ratio, we always have caregivers to support seniors in their favorite outdoor pursuits. 

Our stunning outdoor and indoor areas are full of Southern charm and truly must be seen in person to be appreciated. Contact us today to arrange a guided tour of our exceptional senior care community!




  1. Sia A, Tam WWS, Fogel A, Kua EH, Khoo K, Ho RCM. Nature-based activities improve the well-being of older adults. Scientific Reports. 2020;10:18178. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-74828-w.
  2. Hendersonville. Outdoor events. Accessed April 23, 2024.
  3. Resnik L, Allen S, Isenstadt D, Wasserman M, Iezzoni L. Perspectives on use of mobility aids in a diverse population of seniors: Implications for intervention. Disabil Health J. 2009;2(2):77-85. doi:10.1016/j.dhjo.2008.12.002.
  4. Van den Berg MEL, Winsall M, Dyer SM, Breen F, Gresham M, Crotty M. Understanding the barriers and enablers to using outdoor spaces in nursing homes: A systematic review. Gerontologist. 2020;60(4):e254-e269. doi:10.1093/geront/gnz055.
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