The use of nature – based activities for the well-being of older people: An integrative literature review

Cristina Gagliardi, Flavia Piccinini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: During the last decades scientific literature has focused on the positive relationships between Nature - Based Activities (NBA)and health. The aging of the population and the increasing costs of health services make it important to investigate the benefits for older people. Objective: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the existing literature regarding Nature – Based Activities addressed to older people. Methods: A systematic search of the literature was made in PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus from 2005 till December 2018. Results: We identified 42 articles that satisfied the inclusion criteria. The results highlighted the multidisciplinary use of nature in many settings as well as a variety of different research designs, both quantitative and qualitative. The majority of experimental assessments were carried out in the setting of nursing homes and residential facilities. A variety of treatments, e.g. horticultural therapy, gardening, green visiting, green exercise and of settings, e.g. residential facilities or adult day services, participants’ homes, outdoor settings, and green care farms were examined. Conclusions: The examined studies offered numerous examples of the healing power of nature for the health and well-being of older people. Occupational therapists could gain substantial insight from earlier experiences of NBA for application in their practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Nature – based activities
  • Older people
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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