Ready, Set, Bloom: The Therapeutic Effects of Gardening

Therapeutic Gardening

“As we age, there are a wide variety of activities that have proven to be highly beneficial to our physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual health.” Says, Joey Lotts, Director of Activities of Williamsburg Landing. “These include proactive endeavors such as exercise, social engagement, reading and healthy eating. Interestingly, interacting with nature has also been cited as an activity that offers significant tangible benefits to individuals. In particular, gardening has been shown to have highly therapeutic properties.”

The Unique Benefits of Gardening

According to experts on healthy aging, growing and maintaining a garden can be highly advantageous to the mind, body and spirit. They say many of these benefits accrue from the “innately positive response humans have to nature.” Some physicians today are actually prescribing “gardening therapy” for their older patients.

From a strictly therapeutic medical perspective, gardening is viewed as a key source of activity that can reduce the risks of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer and premature death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that gardening provides an ideal means of staying physically active, enjoying the outdoors, beautifying the community and growing healthful, nutritious fruits and vegetables that can enhance meals. 

Gardening’s wide-ranging benefits include:

  • Promoting exercise
  • Maintaining balance and coordination
  • Improving or maintaining fine motor skills
  • Increasing strength and stamina
  • Promoting social engagement and spiritual well-being
  • Preventing apathy and depression
  • Improving memory
  • Supporting healthy sleep and improving appetite

Tips for a Safe Gardening Experience for Older Loved Ones

If you are caring for a loved one with physical limitations or memory loss, it is very important to provide them with a safe gardening environment. For example:

  • Be sure all plants are non-toxic
  • Avoid giving someone with memory loss any sharp gardening tools
  • Garden in the morning to avoid the hottest times of the day
  • Provide adequate sunscreen and a hat to protect your loved one from the sun

Also, take the time to talk with your loved one about what they are doing, be encouraging and supportive and, most of all, have a good time together! 

Start Exercising Your Green Thumb Today!

By definition, a therapeutic garden is an outdoor garden space that has been specifically designed to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of those using the garden, as well as their caregivers, family members and friends.

Adds Mr. Lotts, “Gardening not only brings the beauty of nature to your own backyard, it also enhances your overall well-being. Depending upon your or your loved one’s personal circumstances and the surrounding environment, there are a variety of ways you can customize the gardening experience to maximize the sense of enjoyment and fulfillment gardening offers.

“For example, therapists suggest that if an individual is in a wheelchair or is unable to bend down easily, a raised bed and container garden might be the ideal solution. Or, if the person is unable to tend to a traditional garden, window boxes and pots placed on the patio can be effective options.

“Start a garden today and see how your plants, flowers and health begin to bloom! The time you spend will be fun and results will be well worth waiting for.”

Your Trusted Resource for Retirement Living Information and Support

At Williamsburg Landing, we enjoy our role as a resource for retirement-age individuals and families. We invite you to view our weekly articles and tips, which address a variety of topics offering useful information and advice on retirement living issues. In addition, we’re always pleased to answer your questions and provide you with a tour of our beautiful campus.

Welcome to Williamsburg Landing 

Looking for a vibrant, engaging and fulfilling way of life? If so, you’ll find it at Williamsburg Landing.

Nestled on 137 wooded acres along the serene banks of College Creek in Williamsburg, Va., Williamsburg Landing is the premier, not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) serving Williamsburg and its surrounding areas since 1985. With one visit, you’ll understand what makes Williamsburg Landing so special.

Williamsburg Landing is an ideal blend of beautiful landscaping and elegant, Colonial architecture. It invites residents to become part of its vibrant, active lifestyle and rest-assured in its award-winning medical care. It eases worries with maintenance-free homes and apartments with resort-style amenities and services. The community thrives with energetic, involved and friendly people who love to live here and the warmth of dedicated, committed professionals who love to work here.

With a past rich in tradition and a future filled with promise, Williamsburg Landing is the perfect place to call home – for today and tomorrow.

To learn more or schedule a tour, please contact us today!