Alzheimer's and Dementia Care: Bringing the Garden Indoors

By Sandra Stimson on Fri, Mar 30, 2012

indoor gardensHorticulture therapy is one of the best ways to improve the emotional state of residents in various long-term care settings. Tending to plants decreases anxiety and creating and maintaining a garden develops and maintains gross motor skills. Also, sitting in a garden setting produces mental and sensory stimulation.

Studies show that gardening helps battle with Alzheimer's as well as dementia. Because many patients with Alzheimer’s are able to experience only the present moment, gardening creates a powerful connection to the past and future. Many patients were involved at some point in their lives with working in their own gardens or yards and many caregivers work to tap into the hobbies that patients enjoyed in the past. Additionally, as the gardens grow and fruits and vegetables are harvested, the concept of time is demonstrated in a very concrete way.

 “The gardens have brought back memories, feelings and interests that many residents may have lost over the years. We are looking forward to many more years of growing memories,” states Maureen Riley of the Pine Run Community in Doylestown, PA.

Choosing plants that reflect seasonal changes, like fruit plants and vegetables, will also help to orient people in time and place. The benefits are amazing and magnified in those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Especially as the gardener’s begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor.holticulture in senior care

StandUp Gardens are award winning Indoor and Outdoor Garden Systems endorsed by the American Horticultural Therapy Association. The gardens allow residents of various facilities to experience the therapeutic benefits of a life enriching horticultural program indoors or out. Many of the units are equipped with grow lights that provide the benefits of outdoor sunlight.  Standup Gardens provide year-round opportunities for independent activities.

“To my amazement the grow light has stimulated growth in a traditional and non-traditional sense. The plants themselves have taken off, climbing the trellis sides and tickling the arbor top,” states Susan Worley from the Kingswood facility in Kansas City, MO. “Our residents have blossomed too, venturing out of their own living spaces more often to peer curiously at the new growth. As the Director of Wellness, it is sometimes a difficult challenge to meet the social, spiritual, emotional, physical, vocational and intellectual needs of all of my residents. StandUp Gardens has been an invaluable tool for surpassing my goals.”

And Celia Zuckerman, director of New York Congregational in Brooklyn, NY states, “the Nursing Center is in full bloom during the warm weather months with brightly colored flowers and plants adorning the campus and juicy vegetables and fragrant herbs thriving in the Center’s Intergenerational Garden.”

A StandUp Garden…

  • Improves dexterity and stimulates reminiscing in dementia residents
     
  • Increases variety of OT and PT options
     
  • Allows residents to be “care givers” vs. “care receivers”

    benefits of gardening
  • Promotes conversation and builds community spirit
     
  • Enriches lives by keeping residents connected to nature
     
  • Moves easily throughout the facility and is wheelchair accessible

StandUp Gardens offers a 10% discount to all current NCCDP members. Please provide your membership information at the time of order. For more information about the therapeutic benefits of owning a StandUp Garden, please visit us at www.standupgardens.com.

Consider filling the stand up gardens with fragrant flowering miniature roses.  These will not only be fragrant but will delight your residents with beautiful blossoms. See this catalogue http://www.jacksonandperkins.com/gardening/PL/RoseGifts

Click here for more information on Sandra M. Stimson CALA ADC CDP CDCM ACC-BC.

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