As we age, preserving our quality of life becomes increasingly important. The benefits of spending time outdoors are well documented, as recent studies confirm that being outside at least two hours a week leads to better physical health and cognitive well-being.
Dick Kendall has experienced these effects firsthand since he and his wife, Anne, moved to Maris Grove, an Erickson Senior Living community in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania, six years ago.
Dick played tennis for 40 years, but had taken a break until his move to Maris Grove rekindled his love for the sport. He now enjoys playing every Tuesday and Friday and serves as the leader of the coed tennis club.
Like many at Maris Grove, Dick finds that getting active outdoors enhances his overall well-being.
"When you get out onto the tennis court, you forget any stress and you focus instead on tennis," he explains. And it's more about enjoying the experience rather than winning or losing. "We don't take the game as seriously as we used to; now it's just a pleasurable time of companionship."
He adds, "We're all accomplished players. Even those of us who are experienced have found that age has taken over, and we realize that we can't run as fast or hit the ball as hard as we used to. When it comes down to it, our focus is just on the game—where we are in the moment."
Outdoor amenities abound
Adults over 70 who spend time outdoors experience fewer sleep difficulties and improved mobility, according to research reported in the Journal of Aging and Health. Studies also show that going outside lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and improves mood and focus.
Recognizing the importance of these findings, Erickson Senior Living offers accessible outdoor environments that encourage residents to get active and socialize.
"Having an array of outdoor amenities is a key component to driving resident activity and maximizing their well-being," says Meghan Clements, resident services coordinator at Maris Grove. "There is so much to do outside on our 87-acre campus."
Maris Grove's gardens, perfect for growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs, appeal to green thumbs—especially those in the gardening club.
"Residents can reserve a space in one of our two gardens. So many flowers are in bloom right now!" she says. "Being a part of the gardening club is a way for people to immerse themselves in nature and socialize with others."
Activities run the gamut of interests. The astronomy club shares access to a solar telescope with residents who sign up. "It's an educational experience," Clements says. "Residents are able to look through the telescope while club leader Roger Kennedy tells them about what they're seeing."
Interested in strolling or biking around campus to scope out native wildlife? Head to the well-landscaped walking paths that weave throughout the community.
To support the Ronald McDonald House, Maris Grove holds an annual 5K walk along the trails.
"Everyone interested will get together and walk or run at their own comfort levels. I've participated in the event for 10 years. It's an opportunity to give to a good cause while spending time together outdoors," Clements says.
The Longest Day, another community-oriented initiative that supports the Alzheimer's Association, encourages everyone to choose outdoor fundraising activities.
"The annual event is held on the summer solstice—the day with the most sunlight," she notes. "It's a beautiful symbol of hope."
More outside your door
For Dick, Anne, and their neighbors, nothing beats the convenience of having outdoor amenities and activities just steps from their front doors.
"Once people join these activities, it's like new, bolder personalities come out," adds Clements. "Fostering connections is a key part of well-being, and we are so happy to support them here at Maris Grove."
Thanks to resident-led efforts and investments in outdoor spaces, an increasing number of Maris Grove community members are finding ways to spend time outside, which is proving to be an integral part of their active, worry-free lifestyles.
"The ability to enjoy time outside with neighbors is a wonderful advantage for residents at Maris Grove," says Dick.
Invest in your future self at Maris Grove. From top-notch amenities to affordable, maintenance-free apartment homes, you are sure to live your retirement to the fullest. Request more information today!