Seniors especially can benefit from interacting with nature through horticultural therapy. Planting and enjoying the results of a therapeutic garden is considered one of many proven, holistic treatments for those in need of rehabilitation and healing, stimulation, social engagement and more. Seniors experience remarkable benefits from connecting to the earth. The practice of planting flowers and vegetables, getting their hands dirty and watching their efforts turn into beautiful results gives them a sense of empowerment that too often vanishes with age.
You don’t have to be an expert to recognize the profound effects nature has on our bodies and spirits. Simply being outside in the fresh air and sunshine provides a sense of mental clarity and overall well-being. Nonetheless, experts have done significant research on our interaction with the natural world, recording the evidence of its many benefits.
According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), the benefits of horticultural therapy have been proven by time itself, with documented studies dating back to the nineteenth century. Today, the practice of gardening is often used for rehabilitation of lost skills, memory improvement, balance and muscle coordination, stress management and social connection.
Therapeutic gardens are becoming increasingly popular among senior living communities for their unique and comprehensive benefits. The AHTA describes a therapeutic garden as “a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature.” With features such as easily accessible entrances and walking paths, raised planting beds and a sensory-oriented selection of plants with various colors, textures and fragrances, therapeutic gardens are well equipped to address the common needs most seniors face.
With age, we become more vulnerable to physical limitations, poor health and the difficult emotional struggles that accompany these changes. For this reason, therapeutic gardening blossoms as a welcome activity for independent seniors, as well as residents in assisted living communities.
An article published in the quarterly journal Psychiatry Investigation titled “What Is the Evidence to Support the Use of Therapeutic Gardens for the Elderly?,” by Mark B. Detweiler et al., gathered information from various studies to prove the benefits of therapeutic gardening. Highlights include:
Studies have shown that patients recovering from surgery not only need less medicinal pain relief, but also recover much faster when given access to nature. Simply bringing plants into the hospital room was enough to provide these benefits.
At Tuscan Gardens®, residents enjoy elegant surroundings full of natural beauty. From tall windows that add sunlight to every room to enchanting walking paths and gardens, everyone has the chance to interact with nature and experience its benefits however they choose.
Our communities places a strong emphasis on engagement, providing our residents with all the resources they need to live well. Gardening is among the many activities we offer as part of our Signature Life Enrichment programs, and residents enjoy contributing to our community’s beautiful setting – and to the delicious meals prepared in our Tuscan Kitchen!
Our very name encourages all of us to enjoy the beauty, engagement and well-being that a garden can give.