Older Individuals May Find Peace Among Greenery
For many people, being around “green space”, such as grass, plants, forests, and more is just a factor of their everyday life. However, recent studies have shown that exposure to greenery may be beneficial for middle aged individuals.
Previously, there had been studies done in which findings revealed that encompassing greenery was promising in all aspects of health, including physical, emotional and mental wellness. However, researchers had found that there was little research on the connection between greenery and an individual’s cognitive abilities.
Green Spaces and Cognition
Researchers from Boston University, Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Rush Medical College examined green space and cognition. They studied thousands of middle aged women, and found that closeness to green spaces was associated with quicker thinking skills and stronger levels of concentration. The average age of women studied was 61, and 98% were white. The study was conducted from 2014 to 2016, and the main goal was to analyze participants’ attention, learning, working memory and psychomotor speed. Once the study was completed, researchers were able to come to the conclusion that being exposed to green space did improve psychomotor speed and attention, but they did not find any evidence that stated that working or learning memory were enhanced.
Furthermore, researchers took a deeper dive into the effect of green space on dementia. Depression was the sole risk factor that had a mediating role in the study. Researchers concluded that higher cognitive levels and living near a green space could explain lower depression levels in individuals. Because of the positive effect green spaces have on people in all forms of health, they believe it is possible that being exposed to greenery can be helpful for people.
For the future, researchers aim to include more diversity and technology in their studies in order to expand upon current research. Additionally, environmental researchers as well as activists around the United States encourage the usage of green spaces around the country. With more green spaces available for people, many researchers believe that society will be able to begin achieving health equity, especially in urban spaces where many white and privileged individuals live in order to create access for minority groups that may not be able to obtain these spaces. Overall, the implementation of green spaces, whether it be a garden or simply plants and trees around, lead to stronger health and better psychological restoration.
Simon, S. (2022, May 18). Study: Exposure to greenery may support aging minds. Verywell Health. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/effect-of-green-space-cognitive-function-5271362