Feeling tired, stressed, anxious, having trouble focusing and/or dealing with blood pressure issues? According to The Missouri Conservationist Feb 2019 issue, “Nature is healthy” and makes people healthy! It points out five clear benefits to humans from our interaction with Mother Nature. If a person is feeling tired, just spending 20 minutes outside gives the brain an energy boost comparable to a cup of coffee. Also, time spent in nature, urban parks and even backyards eases stress=– a good thing to keep in mind during tax season! Our connection with nature and ourselves allows us to get away from too busy schedules; this pause brings a calm and sense of well being to each visitor. Studies have shown that taking a nature walk can increase attention spans and creative problem solving by as much as 50%!! Improved physical well being reduces blood pressure, heart rate and production of stress hormones as well as relaxed muscle tension; these are some of the wonderful benefits of interaction with nature.

Residents of The Terrace Retirement Community have created their own fun in early 2019 that makes a connection to nature even if they can’t get outdoors. Some groups enjoy a hot cup of coffee while sitting in front of our fireplace and share summer vacations plans with their Terrace friends. When the weather allows, the Terrace bus takes residents to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area to view migratory birds such as bald eagles, swans, and huge numbers of ducks and geese. The activity director reviews the calendars from past summer adventures, and day trips are planned for the year ahead. This always includes a trip to Centralia to see the exquisite rose beds at Chance Gardens or a ride through mid-Mo. to view the fall foliage. Then there are the flower gardeners who look through the numerous catalogs for new plants to add to our butterfly gardens or new varieties of tomatoes to plant in the raised beds. These activities usually lead some of our residents who are wonderful photographers to share some of their photo albums and show Terrace friends pictures from some of the Terrace trips in the past or photos of some of the beautiful butterflies that visit our flower beds. Some residents just enjoy sitting at the large windows on the 2nd floor which overlook our courtyard and watch the birds eating at the multiple bird feeders. There is nothing prettier than watching a pair of redbirds hopping around on ice or snow- covered branches. The grand finale is at the very end of January when our chefs create a special Luau buffet, complete with tropical cocktails at the Tiki bar, island food stations, beach balls and palm trees! The food was fantastic, and the atmosphere made everyone ready for warm weather!! So, while Missourians are ready for spring, the Terrace Retirement Community residents are thankful for all the continued connections to the Missouri outdoors, even when winter won’t go away! Residing in a senior independent living apartment community doesn’t keep residents from being active and enjoying the outdoors. …It just provides more friends to share in the experience!!