The link between happiness and health in older adults is a strong one. Research shows that people who stay socially connected and engaged live longer, says Jack Carman, president of Design for Generations. Seniors who report lower instances of loneliness are more likely to have healthier hearts, stronger memories and less depression.
Your therapeutic garden is an essential tool in helping the older adults in your care to build a sense of community. With that comes social connection and a sense of purpose, two driving forces behind cultivating happiness that leads to stronger health outcomes, both mentally and physically.
Think beyond flowers. Carman has worked with communities who leverage their gardens to engage seniors’ brains in entirely new ways. Yes, 75-year-old city dwellers can learn the basics of beekeeping. Our seniors with a strong sense of pride can maintain dignity and autonomy by maintaining a vegetable garden to give produce to staff to take home. With assistance, older adults can help to manage an apple orchard, where in a way they really are living “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Carman finds joy in helping individual communities to brainstorm and plan unique gardens that connect with older adults and their families. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin planning how your therapeutic garden can resonate more strongly with older adults in your care, as well as with prospective families considering your community.