Restorative Activities of Community-Dwelling Elders1

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This study was conducted to identify the restorative activities of community-dwelling elders. Exposure to restorative activities, such as observing nature, is associated with improved concentration, more effective cognitive functioning, and feelings of greater mental energy, peacefulness, and refreshment. Little literature exists regarding the types and benefits of restorative activities engaged in by elders, a group in need of means to promote optimal daily functioning. A qualitative descriptive design was used. Thirty (28 women, 2 men) community-dwelling elders (ages 65 to 92 years) were interviewed using open-ended questions to ascertain their perceptions of restorative activities. A content analysis of themes produced 12 categories of restorative activities: creative outlets, altruism, nature, social connections, cognitive challenges, physical activity, reading, family connections, spirituality and reflection, cultural activities, travel, and other activities. Additional studies with larger, culturally diverse samples and more men are warranted before implementing restorative interventions with elders in the hopes of promoting optimal functioning and well-being.

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