Therapeutic Gardens Bloom in Senior Living Communities

Intergenerational gardening at Glacier Hills Retirement Community
Continuing our discussion on “aging in nature,” here’s a great article from Assisted Living Success. I’ve cut and pasted the first section here, but I strongly encourage readers to click on the link to read the full article. Full of all lots of good information and inspiration about gardens for seniors, including some great “how to” tips.

Therapeutic Gardens Bloom in Senior Living Communities

By Mona Del Sole

Drifting through the garden at sunset is the aroma of just-picked basil and tomatoes mixing with the perfume of lavender. My grandmother clanks down her garden tools brought from home, gathers her harvest and shuffles along the winding pathway. Pausing to remember her way, she’s guided by a specially designed walkway and soothed by whispers of a poetry reading nearby. She places one foot in front of the next toward what seems an uncertain destination. Soon her journey safely ends at the patio where she began, greeted by friends and iced tea.

Perhaps you’ve heard them called restorative, healing or memory gardens. Or maybe you’ve not heard about the therapeutic garden before now. Yet there is mounting research on the benefits of these specially designed gardens and an increase in their establishment within senior living communities.

Want to boost staff retention? Some say that you should consider the therapeutic garden. Reduced resident stress, improved satisfaction and better health outcomes are being reported for residents. And, for families who are dealing with the transition of a loved one from home to facility, the garden is an attractive feature. After all, it is likely that gardening was once a favorite hobby.

Meander through a therapeutic garden and you’ll find carefully selected flowering perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees. Containers and furniture are strategically placed to create spaces that are inviting and enjoyable. Discover sitting areas with specific themes such as a butterfly garden, sensory garden, vegetable garden, fragrant garden and shade garden. Safety, comfort and meeting the needs of the senior population are key elements of the design.
To read the rest of the article, click here. You can also order reprints from this site.

In the above photo, a resident of Glacier Hills Retirement Community in Ann Arbor, MI gardens with students from the Go Like the Wind Montessori School through a project called GRO – Generations Reaching Out. To learn more, visit the ElderTree Network. Many thanks to Suzanne for sending the image and links!