8 80 Cities, an organization based in Canada dedicated to enhancing parks, public spaces and mobility, in partnership with Woodgreen Community Services have come together to develop the Seniors Outdoor Activation Toolkit to support more outdoor programming, physical activity, and social connection opportunities for seniors.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop age-inclusive parks and outdoor spaces, 8-80 Cities developed the toolkit with case studies from programs in Toronto parks and public areas, but the guide is applicable to any community.
Exposure to green space is critical in health promotion amongst older adults, but exposure is often defined by time spent sitting or walking through parks. Parks are often seen as
places of rest and relaxation for older adults and are spaces seldom associated with fun and recreational programming for this demographic, according to the resource.
Engaging in purposeful activities in public green spaces can have greater positive mood and health impacts on older adults than just exposure to green space through passive activities. Purposeful activities include group guided walking, gardening, socializing and other creative programming like dancing and meditation.
For any community working to become age- and dementia friendly, check out the toolkit here.