How the elderly can benefit from Gardening

How the elderly can benefit from Gardening

With the Summer solstice approaching and the sun shining just a little more often here in Kent, we’re getting our green fingers ready for a summer of gardening.  

There are ample benefits to getting outside and gardening, particularly for the elderly. From improving dexterity to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, gardening is a wonderful way to maintain wellbeing. A report published in 2020 stated that older adults report enhanced self-esteem, productive endeavours, social engagement and exercise as a result of gardening activities. 

We’re incredibly lucky here at Birchwood House to have nine acres of landscaped gardens right on our doorstep, which residents can enjoy at all times of the year. They’re also a wonderful backdrop for our quarterly events and provide food for our in-house chef.

Social Gardening 

Gardening can be a lovely social activity. Community projects in the garden are a fantastic way to bring people together and it is always a pleasure to see the residents spending time out in the gardens here at the house. Did you know the NHS even started prescribing potted plants to patients to combat loneliness

Adaptive Gardening  

We understand that gardening often involves your whole body, which some individuals might find challenging. But no worries. At Birchwood House our carers are more than happy to help out and it can be something we can enjoy together. 

If you have a condition like arthritis or an injury, you can even opt for a minimal maintenance garden activity. Some more gentle garden activities include things like planting in raised beds, decorating the garden with sensory accessories, or populating greenhouses.  

Improved Cognitive Function 

Memory challenges are a concern for a lot of elderly people and their loved ones. Gardening can be a wonderful way to keep the mind active and alert. A number of studies have looked at how gardening can help combat Dementia and Alzheimer’s in the elderly. One study, published in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, found that mental capacities deteriorated slower in Alzheimer’s patients who gardened twice weekly for 12 weeks. 

Promoting Peace 

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.” — Unknown 

It’s been proven time and time again that being outside in nature is good for us. Nature and being outdoors in a garden are wonderful stress relievers. A report in the Mental Health Journal cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood, with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. There’s even such a thing as social and therapeutic horticulture. Social and therapeutic horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health. 

Reach for your sunhat, don’t forget SPF and consider trying some gentle gardening this summer. Looking for a care home with plenty of outdoor space and gardens to enjoy, come rain or shine? Come and visit us at Birchwood House for a tour of our beautiful gardens.   

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