Our elders need a Green Hour too!

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I recently learned that one of the parents at my children’s school has authored a book, titled The Green Hour. I haven’t read the book yet, but here is a definition of a “green hour” from the National Wildlife Federation website:

“Children should have “green hour” every day–a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. Whether in the backyard, the local park, or a green space farther afield, time spent outdoors is essential to the healthy development of young minds, bodies, and spirits.”

As I read this I was reminded of an elder I met in one of my stays last year who shared with me that she hadn’t been outside for over a month. When I offered to go on a walk with my fellow resident, her first response was “how much will it cost?”

That conversation raised my awareness of just how many elders are isolated inside their homes, communities or nursing centers for extended periods of time. The isolation may have started because of disability, but it eventually becomes habit and the “norm” in that elders life.

Video games, television, and changes in our culture have made it “normal” for children to spend more time indoors. The Green Hour appears to be a book designed to present solutions for a healthy change.

It’s equally important for us to present solutions that bring our elders outside for “interaction with the natural world” as well. It should not be “normal” for anyone to spend a month inside!

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