I am old enough to remember hospital solariums. These were outdoor spaces on each wing to afford the patient fresh air and sunshine. What happened to this idea of opening up the interior to the exterior environment? We talk about biophilia as if it is a new term.
As the Pandemic continues, we have learned that air flow is a pertinent factor in the transfer of droplets and virus contagion. Perhaps we should return to our roots of yesteryear where fresh air was the solution to recovery from disease. What if the windows at the end of hospital corridors were operable and allowed a breeze to flow through? What if a patient room had a door out to a walking path on a green roof? I would be that person who got up each morning to take a walk without the dings or sound of equipment alarms, but simply the sound of chirping birds and the smell of tea olives. That would improve my mind and body and I would heal faster.
In life plan communities/senior living environments, the limited walking paths are extremely condensed. What if we could extend these paths further into outdoor living rooms with pause points for resting. I would like to see paths wide enough to accommodate physical distancing. I have a friend who has an incredibly old and tall oak tree in her backyard which has become a family art sculpture. As her children outgrew shoes, each discarded pair was nailed to the tree, creating a topic of conversation to all who visit and sit in the yard. This is a tremendous twist to the "Giving Tree" concept. This would be a wonderful activity for a senior community, ever evolving and changing with time.
I believe that great good will come out of this time of change. We are just beginning to see how to give patients and residents safe and "natural" settings to recover from disease, surgery, and behavioral complications. Let's make a giant leap into the future and return to what we know to be true: green is good for what ails us.