Browne, C.A. 1992.  The role of nature for the promotion of well-being of the elderly. In: D. Relf (ed.). The role of horticulture in human well-being and social development: A national symposium.  Timer Press, Portland, Ore.
Senior citizens represent the fastest growing segment of the American population. The demand for services for the elderly has increased dramatically in relation to housing, leisure activities, and long-term care. As a result, retirement communities within the US are proliferating at a rapid rate. Many of these communities have substantially-landscaped grounds and outdoor amenities; however, most have yet to be assessed as to whether these landscaped settings have a positive impact on the residents. In fact, our current, general knowledge about the impact the out-of-doors has on the aged in relation to well-being is extremely limited. The purpose of this paper is to report on findings from a research project (funded by the National Endowment of the Arts) which is directed at understanding the extent to which outdoor settings within retirement communities promote psychological, social, and physical well-being. Specifically, this paper will address five areas in which nature may have an impact on the promotion of well-being: aesthetics, environmental stimulation, social interaction, motivation for physical exercise, and self-expression.

The author utilized a multi-method research approach including literature review, 12 site visitations (indicative post-occupancy evaluations), two questionnaires -- one administered to the management and the other to the residents, and interviews with selected residents to determine their outdoor visual and spatial preferences.