Designing digital nature for older adults: a mixed method approach

Josca van Houwelingen-Snippe, Somaya Ben Allouch, Thomas J. L. van Rompay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Loneliness and social isolation are pressing issues that can seriously impact the mental health and well-being of older adults. Interacting with nature can stimulate a feeling of connectedness. However, for older adults, access to nature is often troublesome because of physical limitations and mobility restrictions.

METHODS: In the present mixed-method study, 37 older adults (62-99 years old) with varying care needs and mobility restrictions watched a video presenting a walkthrough of a simulated digital nature landscape.

RESULTS: Quantitative results show a significant increase in social connectedness scores and enhanced peacefulness after experiencing a digital nature. Qualitative results stress the importance of variations in nature scenery and highlight the influence of contextual and person-related factors including nature experiences throughout the life span and mobility constraints that older adults may face.

CONCLUSION: These findings testify to the potential of using digital nature as a complementary strategy when interactions with outdoor nature become increasingly difficult due to old age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20552076231218504
JournalDigital Health
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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