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The benefits of gardening for older people

Many older people have loved and cared for their gardens over the years. We see no reason for this to stop when they move into a care home, and as such we actively encourage residents to get involved in tending to our outside spaces. We know there are many benefits to gardening for older adults; here are just a few that we’ve observed in our residents.

Enjoyable exercise

Residents enjoy getting out in the open air, and unlike an exercise class which they might be reluctant to join in with, they are being active, stretching, bending and walking around without even realising it.

Confidence building

There are loads of ways that gardening can build an older person’s confidence. Whether they are a bit unsteady on their feet, but successfully negotiated their way around the flower beds, or feel confidence from their achievements in growing beautiful things, it’s a great way to help them feel happier in themselves again.

Sense of purpose

Feeling a true sense of purpose is crucial in staving off depression and anxiety in older adults. Seeing something you’ve worked on come to fruition, such as eating a vegetable you’ve grown or looking at a flower you planted, gives a real sense of purpose and fulfilment, hard to achieve with any other activities.

Social interaction

Gardening can be done quietly, alone, but usually there are a whole group of residents and caregivers outside together, chatting and laughing about anything and everything. We feel the social opportunities presented by taking part in gardening are of great benefit to everyone, improving wellbeing and strengthening social bonds in our community.

Connecting with nature

Being outside in the fresh air, and having nature all around you, is truly beneficial to adults of all ages. The act of gardening and working with living greenery is grounding and settling. In fact, a study by Stanford University showed that just 90 minutes of gardening a week can reduce depression and improve mental wellbeing.

Stress reduction

Psychology Today found that gardening has physical effects on our brains and bodies which promote relaxation and stress reduction. When we garden, the rhythmic, patterned activities that require little in the way of thought processes help release stress reducing chemicals in our brains that help us let go of our worries.

Perfect for those living with dementia

Our residents who live with dementia or Alzheimer’s find gardening the perfect way to express themselves, to be involved and to interact with others. We’ve seen agitation decrease, strength and balance improved and the desire to reminisce increase significantly.

With so many brilliant benefits, it only makes sense that we encourage our residents to get out into the gardens as often and for as long as they wish.

Gardening for residents at Westgate

All our homes have gorgeous gardens for our residents to explore, from the traditional lawns and flowerbed at Ashview to the charming landscaping and pond at Kingfisher. We regularly organise gardening activities with our residents and encourage them to spend time outside as often as the weather allows. For more information on gardening at our care homes, get in touch with us today.

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