Nordic Rehab are big advocates of getting active and immersing oneself in the natural world and all its beauty, but in some cases that is not so simple. We help people suffering from a range of conditions:- Parkinsons, head injuries, stroke, COPD, falls, surgery recovery and many more. For these clients, accessing the outside world is not a straightforward procedure and the natural world can seem very far away.
However, we are forgetting a valuable contender for our time, affection and inspiration … the modest garden birds that are all around us. Despite the huge benefits of pets like cats and dogs, they are not always a practical option and this is where the humble birds that inhabit your garden or outside space really are worth their feathery weight in gold.
It is so simple to attract clouds of garden birds to your space, simply provide food and water at regular times and watch your fluttering friends flock. Maybe you have an older relative that would benefit from this? Take them a bird feeder and some bird seed and help them set it up in a space visible from their main window of view.
Have a look at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/ to see which bird feed is best for attracting which birds. And how to prepare for a few cheeky squirrels too.
Feeding ‘your’ birds will bring a sense of responsibility, purpose and an increase in self esteem. It will provide sensory stimulation:- both visual from watching the birds flutter and feed, and auditory from the bird song you will soon start to hear. A walk in the garden will provide regular activity, a dose of vitamin D, occupy the mind and the birds activities make a great conversation starter. Motor skills and dexterity will benefit from the physical actions of putting the feed into the feeder, this will be of particular benefit to those affected by Parkinson’s and stroke.
The definition of eco-therapy Is, according to Mind “a wide range of treatment programmes which aim to improve your mental and physical well-being through doing outdoor activities in nature”. Bird watching is highly mindful and relaxing. Give it a go, or suggest it to someone you care about. You won’t regret it.
Here is a link to the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch – January 2020.