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Nature Teaches Us to Grieve: The place of parks and nature at end of life
Jakubec, Sonya L.Den Hoed, Don CarruthersKrishnamurthy, AshokRay, HeatherQuinn, Michael S.
More evidence is becoming known about how natural environments impact both our physical and spiritual well-being. Little is known, however, about the place of parks and nature at end-of-life, or the impact of parks and nature on quality of life during palliative care or bereavement experiences. A 2015 study aimed to develop a better understanding of people's (including those at end-of-life, caregivers and those experiencing grief) beliefs and experiences about the connection of parks and nature at end-of-life. The study combined an initial online survey (n=118) and narrative research process, whereby a subgroup of participants (n=15) were interviewed in an open-ended story-telling approach. Analysis focused on the meaning of people’s stories and narratives using concepts derived from ecopsychology theory concerned with nature connection, individual wellness and social/earth justice. Over 80% believed that visiting a park or natural place is worth the risk involved and over 90% expressed that they personally would like to have end-of-life experiences in parks and nature. The narrative process uncovered three dominant themes: 1. Death brings people to parks and nature, 2. Nature teaches people to grieve, and 3. Parks and nature reveal death and life. Animal companions, observing the cycles of natural decay and renewal, and observations of nature as something bigger than death were emphasized. These discoveries will help develop the foundations for policy and practice within parks and health sectors that promote access and enjoyment of parks and nature for people during end-of-life experiences.
Jakubec, S.L., Den Hoed, D.C., Krishnamurthy, A., Ray, H., Quinn, M. (2016). Nature Teaches Us to Grieve: The place of parks and nature at end of life. [Discovery snapshot].
Attribution 2.5 Canadahttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ca/
Health, Community and Education