An April 23, 2006 article by Jane Adler in the Chicago Tribune
featured research by assistant professor Susan Rodiek. The story,
titled, “Exposure to natural elements can improve residents’ well-being” highlighted
Rodiek’s work with the Center for Health Systems & Design
in researching the health outcomes of long-term care patients
who were provided access to outdoor areas for certain activities,
versus those who performed the same activities inside the facility.
Summary: In one study, [Susan Rodiek] tested stress levels of
residents at assisted-living buildings. She says residents experience
lots of stress: They suffer from chronic pain, the loss of family
and friends and not being able to do what they want anymore.
In her test, she placed one group of residents outside for a
series of activities. Another group stayed inside for the same
activities. Based on four measures, the outdoor group experienced
less stress. Rodiek's interviews showed that the residents wanted
to be outdoors because it provides a sense of peace and connection
to nature that took older people beyond their ailments and worries,
she said. Being outside also is usually associated with increased
physical activity. But, she said, outdoor spaces at long-term
care buildings tend not to be used. Why?
The complete article is available for a fee from the Chicago
Tribune archives: Author: Jane Adler, Special to the Tribune;
Date: April 23, 2006; Start page: 3; Section: Real Estate; text
word count: 784.
Chicago Tribune archives: