Gardens for seniors - a case study in nursing homes in Milan (Italy)
The health-related benefits of accessing green areas (reducing stress levels, supporting physical activity, improving mood and quality of life) are particularly important for older adults, especially in long-term care settings. Well-designed outdoors environments can encourage older adults to spend more time outside. In this context, the authors conducted a research on 60 Nursing Homes in the Milan area in order to collect information on size, conditions and quality of green spaces, using the Seniors' Outdoor Survey (SOS-2), an instrument specifically designed to assess the ability of a green area to fit the needs of seniors and guarantee accessibility and usability for them. SOS-2 has 50 items grouped in 5 domains (lush garden setting, safe and comfortable, outdoor walking and activities, easy to see and reach, connect to the world). The average size of the gardens is 3160 m2 with 60% of the structures in the range 1000-3000 m2. The garden area per bed has an average of 28.8 m2 with over 80% of the structures with more than 9 m2 of garden per bed. The SOS-2 tool uses a scale ranging from 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). The registered average score of the gardens is 3.29, with about 70% of gardens with an average score of less than 3.5. Despite the good supply of outdoor spaces nursing homes need a future increase in their quality. Research can contribute to growing the awareness that is necessary to adequately design the gardens in order to obtain the desired benefits.
Fumagalli, N., Senes, G., Ferrara, C., Giornelli, A., Rodiek, S. and Bardenhagen, E. (2017). Gardens for seniors - a case study in nursing homes in Milan (Italy). Acta Hortic. 1189, 349-354
healing gardens, evaluation, access to nature, elderly, SOS-2