IT’S no secret that going for a walk outside can do the world of good.

The views, the smells and the sounds all help us recharge our batteries.

But sometimes barriers get in the way and not everybody can get outside – especially those limited by old age and poor health.

That’s why a university researcher has set up a new art installation at the Marston Court care home on Marston Road.

In a bid of bringing some of the outside in, the main route to the social area, the bedrooms and the garden has been turned into an ‘indoor nature walk’.

The Oxford Times:

The walls of the corridor have been stripped of the normal boring paintwork and adorned with spring, summer, autumn and winter murals instead.

Sensors have been added to the walls so that bird sounds play when residents walk through, giving an ‘all sensory’ experience to those who are less-able.

The walk wraps round the corridor through to a seating area with a mini water feature, big glass window looking onto bird feeders and frames of soft reindeer moss pinned to the walls to touch.

The Oxford Times:

Julia Glassman is behind the project, which is part of her internship at the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Oxford and part of her wider project at the University of Michigan’s school for environment and sustainability ­— in America – where she studies behaviour education and communication.

Before designing the installation she talked with residents and staff about what they love most about the outside, and what they would love to see more of inside.

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Now the walk has been completed the idea is more people will have access to nature.

The benefits it will have on residents and staff will be monitored through surverys and feedback across the year, and if it is deemed successful – Ms Glassman hopes to roll out the idea in more care homes in the UK and America, where she says there are less outdoor spaces for old people to enjoy in their homes.

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In the leaflets explaining the walk to residents she said: “Barriers exist between older adults and the outdoors.

“Whether it be health, mobility, safety issues or simply the weather, going outdoors can be more difficult task for the older adults than others.

“For various reasons, many care homes do not have outside spaces that cater to the dynamic needs of elders, allowing them to easily and independently access nature.”

She said the solution was to bring nature inside.

Adding:“While on a wheel to lunch, a walk to the office or a stroll to an activity, care home residents can feel a connection to the outdoor through exposure to the indoor nature walk. The walk provides all, independent of ability, with access to nature.”

Sharon Fenn, the manager of the care home, said: "They have already talked about it a lot – it was finished last week but has been a conversation piece. It flows through to the garden so gets people outside too."