Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults

Elsevier, Health & Place, Volume 34, July 2015, Pages 97-106
Authors: 
Jessica Finlay, Thea Franke, Heather McKay, Joanie Sims-Gould

Abstract

This paper extends the concept of therapeutic landscapes by investigating how green and blue spaces affect older adult health and wellbeing. We draw on interview data from participants aged 65–86 years old who described their everyday experiences with green and especially blue spaces across Metro Vancouver, Canada. Landscapes embedded with therapeutic qualities included parks, gardens, street greenery, lakes, and the ocean. Interactions with these spaces influenced participants' perceived physical, mental, and social health. Issues of safety, accessibility, and personal perception complicated this relationship. Overall, the findings indicate that nature plays a nuanced and influential role in the everyday lives of older adults. Better understanding how older adults experience health and landscape is critical towards developing everyday contact with nature that can improve quality of life for ageing populations.