Therapeutic gardens and the elderly

The review article, “What Is the Evidence to Support the Use of Therapeutic Gardens
for the Elderly?” by MB Detweiler et al. (2012), takes a comprehensive view of the
use of therapeutic gardens for the various ailments of our aging populations. This
article goes through the history of horticultural therapy and outlines the many documented physical and psychological benefits gardens can have on the elderly. MB Detweiler et al., takes the time to hone in on dementia patients and the therapeutic benefits wander gardens have for such patients, including a reduction in
anti-psychotic medications. The article concludes with a need for further quantitative studies to investigate gardens as a therapy for our aging populations.

Read the paper here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3372556/pdf/pi-9-100.pdf

What research are you seeing regarding gardens and the elderly? Where do you see a need for research in this area? Share your thoughts and experiences related to therapeutic gardens and elderly care in the comments below!

One Comment

  1. Our research team here in Cardiff, Wales, UK have been researching the benefits of gardening for healthy ageing for the last 5 years. For healthy older populations we have seen benefits of having an allotment garden (i.e. vegetable/fruit growing plot) for older people’s physiological health and psychological well-being including body mass index, hand-grip strength, perceived stress levels, and self-esteem. Our qualitative research has further enhanced our understanding of these benefits, and others, particularly for retired individuals. Specifically, we find that the reported benefits of gardening activity in later life can be attributed to either ‘doing’ gardening activity, or ‘being’ at the garden. Our research results can be found on our website: http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/ghop

    We would be very interested in extending this research into clinical populations to explore whether the benefits of gardening activity arise in a similar way.

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