Love hormones dopamine and serotonin are for more than just inducing feelings of romantic love. In the adult care setting, leveraging your therapeutic garden to boost these feel-good hormones positively impacts the physical and emotional well-being of those whose care is entrusted to you.
Encouraging autonomy and sensory stimulation is key to maximizing the benefits of your therapeutic garden. Doing so supports overall health, helping to improve sleep and promote ambulation, while reducing stress. Some studies have also made an association between those who spend time in outdoor green spaces, such as therapeutic gardens, and a reduction in falls and a lessened need for pain medicine.
During these winter months, getting people to venture outdoors requires some thoughtful planning. Arrange mid-day activities that capitalize on the warmth of the sun and center around creativity or movement, both of which spur the natural production of dopamine and serotonin.
A few activities to consider hosting in your garden:
- Live music: partner with a school to bring in students to perform
- A sponge painting stationery class
- A modified exercise class focused on stretching and flexibility, using men’s neckties for resistance and movement
Activities such as these create reasons for older adults to head outside to your garden, where they will produce love hormones that improve their physical and emotional well-being this winter.