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The Benefits of Gardening in Older Age

Gardening can be therapeutic for older people and people living with dementia, says study. Most of us enjoy relaxing in a pretty garden, admiring the colour explosion of blooming flowers and taking in the scent of freshly mowed grass. However, did you know that gardening itself can be incredibly therapeutic and calming?

Gardening ensures gentle exercise and all the benefits of being outdoors. It provides a sense of purpose, reward and creativity.

The World Health Organisation found that physical activity helps slow physical and mental health deterioration.

Their findings suggest that there is little risk of injury while gardening, and it can even prevent falls by maintaining people's balance and strength. People who were more active had better physical health, including more stamina, less pain, and fewer illnesses.

At Four Seasons Health Care, we encourage our residents to enjoy fresh air and pottering in the homes’ gardens – whatever ability and care needs.  With sensory gardens, vegetable patches, flowerbeds and home meadows there is something for everyone. Many of our homes have built raised beds too for wheelchair gardening and for those where mobility can be challenging. But it’s not just about plants – local wildlife is considered too – so that our residents and families can enjoy mother nature in full glory – especially our birds and insects.

Some people prefer a tranquil walk through the gardens to connect with nature and stimulate the senses whilst others prefer to join our gardening clubs. Here they can share a common passion and social interaction with lots of knowledge, chat and interaction. Activity display boards are often full of garden progress throughout the year and families and community visitors are always encouraged to participate or simply come and enjoy our gardens too.

During the summer, Four Seasons Health Care homes were involved in a lovely initiative to create ‘Pocket Gardens’. (Small gardens in pots).

The event was all about spending time outside, enjoying some fresh air and connecting with friends, family and community groups to make the most of the lovely garden spaces. Many care homes created their own pocket gardens with beautiful plants, flowers and herbs to attract wildlife and create a sensory experience.

Hawthorn House Pocket garden

Charnwood House, Pocket Garden

Fancy making your own Pocket Garden? Click here to download our handy guide.

How gardening can make life a bit easier for the elderly

Encouraging older people to spend more time in the garden may seem obvious, but let’s take a closer look at its many benefits.

  • Gardening is a simple and rewarding activity that can be adapted for all ages and abilities. It can bring about improved physical health and mental wellbeing, increased self-esteem and social interaction, contributing to reduced stress levels.
  • When combined with social interaction, research shows these kinds of activities help slow down cognitive decline in the elderly.
  • Gardening is good for your health, both mentally and physically.
  • Studies have shown that gardening can reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Being outside in the sun will improve your mood and help you sleep better at night.
  • If you’re struggling to get up from a seated position, gardening might be just what you need to help with your strength and balance.
  • Just 30 minutes of digging in the soil can reduce blood pressure to healthier levels, improving heart health over time

So, with so many brilliant health and wellbeing benefits, it only makes sense to dust off those gardening gloves, don the sun hat (we can live in hope!) and head out into the gardens!

For more information on gardening at Four Seasons Health Care, please get in touch with us today.

Four Seasons Health Care is one of the UK’s largest independent health care providers, find a care home near you.

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