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The healing power of nature and how green spaces promote well-being in retirement

Being close to nature is good for our heads, our hearts and our lungs. Spending time in nature is responsible for many measurable, beneficial changes in the body and the power that green space provides, as a force for good, has never been more apparent or important than in 2021 and beyond. The World Health Organisation published their findings on the health benefits that green spaces provide back in 2017 and these findings are even more pertinent today as the Global Covid-19 Pandemic has taken hold.

An increasing desire for green space

According to a recent survey by estate agent Savills, almost four in ten people considering a house move, be it for retirement or for any other reason, are more inclined to pick a countryside location than they were before Covid-19 struck. Coronavirus has prompted a shift, with the desire for green space being one of the most common reasons cited for moving. And it’s easy to understand why. Having a garden or access to outdoor or green space has become a more important consideration for buyers than ever before, with over half of those surveyed citing green space as the key driver for their purchasing decision. Retirement provides an ideal opportunity to make an important change to one’s life, and can present a perfect way to begin a new chapter in life. The vital role that gardens and outdoor spaces played – and continue to play in our ability to cope in times of crisis cannot be underestimated and is something that discerning retirees are also taking into careful consideration. In addition to the clear, mental benefits that access to green space provides, these studies also reveal that those with easy access to nature tended to recover and recuperate faster than those in an more urban environment. As older adults are generally more bound to their direct home surroundings, the benefit of easy access to green spaces is an important consideration.

A wealth of green space at Grove Place and beyond

Grove Place – a beautiful retirement community operated by LifeCare Residences – set in 27 acres of tranquil, Hampshire countryside provides access not only to spectacular grounds, but also borders the beautifully wild New Forest – a haven for dog walkers and nature enthusiasts alike. Going for a gentle, or even a brisk walk in nature has proven health benefits. The idyllic pet-friendly setting of Grove Place was a key driver in the decision for Barbara and Ron Wood and their dog Simba, to retire at Grove Place. The award-winning retirement community provides the perfect balance of rural living with a social life on demand. As well as the five-star amenities such as professional concierge service, chef-led restaurant, fully equipped gym and pool, Barbara adds, “At Grove Place, we have the peace and quiet of the countryside, but with all the amenities you could wish for on our doorstep.” The health benefits of getting out into the fresh air to walk a dog are undeniable, but the social benefits cannot be ignored either as Barbara Wood can testify; “As newcomers to the area we found it very easy to settle in and make friends – especially with Simba, as it’s so easy to strike up a conversation with a fellow dog owner when you’re out and about.”

The picturesque market town of Romsey is also just two miles away from Grove Place, making it an easy and charming place to visit, whether it be a wander along the banks of the River Test, one of the finest trout and salmon rivers in Europe, or a meander through the Medieval streets that cluster around the magnificent Norman Abbey which dominates the town. Grove Place is also fortunate to border the extensive parklands of Broadlands, the former home of Lord Palmerston and the late Lord Louis Mountbatten which is open to visitors during the summer months, as well as for concerts and events throughout the year.

Residents at Grove Place are able to enjoy almost unlimited access to 27 acres of beautifully designed grounds within the Hampshire countryside – including a historical sunken garden, stunning meadows bursting with flowering plants and woodland walks with approximately 875 trees – as well as the New Forest beyond. Furthermore, these spaces also provide the perfect solution to keeping energetic grandchildren entertained when they visit!

Growing is good for the soul

For those keen to get more actively involved, residents at Grove Place are able to get outside and enjoy the beautifully tended croquet lawns and the immaculate nine-hole putting green or even turn their hand to a spot of gardening. At the heart of Grove Place is a 16th Century Grade 1 listed Manor House which boasts its own kitchen garden and orchard which produces fresh fruit and vegetables that are used in the high-class restaurant. The kitchen garden further enriches the lives of the residents by helping provide a plethora of homegrown, seasonal and organic produce all bursting with health benefits. Even the leaves from the raspberries are used in tea infusions! Nurturing social relationships has a significant effect on mental and physical health, with research showing that adults who socialise enjoy better health. Working together in Grove Place’s beautiful kitchen garden provides an ideal place for meeting and interacting with others and the added sense of satisfaction of growing nutritious food together. Many of the apartments and bungalows at Grove Place have their own balconies and terraces which residents greatly enjoy. Resident Barbara Wood not only relishes the many walks in the rolling Hampshire countryside, but also the ability to turn her hand to gardening; “Our apartment is on the ground floor, and via French doors in our living room, we have easy access to a private terrace and the grounds beyond. This allows me to indulge my green-fingered gardening hobby in my own patch of Grove Place.” The positive emotional health benefits of gardening are well-known. Gardening provides a near-effortless way to stay active, it decreases levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ and increases exposure to Vitamin D producing sunlight.

Therefore, it is clear and widely documented that access to green spaces can promote mental and physical health by providing psychological relaxation and stress alleviation, stimulating and fostering social cohesion and reducing feelings of loneliness which are very relevant predictors of health in the older population. Additionally, higher exposure to green space has been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease such as diabetes. Furthermore, access to more green space provides an incentive for supporting physical activity, and remaining physically active is an important factor for maintaining health in older age. Accessible natural areas are vital for mental health as we consider retirement.

With over 30 years’ experience, LifeCare Residences are leaders in retirement community living. LifeCare Residences started in New Zealand, famously one of the most beautiful countries in the world, renowned for the importance it places on the natural environment and green spaces.

On 28th, 29th and 30th January, Grove Place will be hosting VIP Viewing Events by appointment only. If you would like to discover more about luxury retirement living and what is available, please contact Wendy Griffith on: T. 023 8074 3592 or E.[email protected]

Grove Place, Upton Lane, Nursling, Southampton SO16 0XY
LifeCare Residences
T. 0800 009 6950