Evoke a sense of nostalgia and spur older adults to feel happiness and joy with the addition of one simple plant to your therapeutic garden this July. Researchers in the Netherlands recently found that older adults respond positively and strongly to smelling and tasting mint.
As such, food and drink that include mint flavor and smell may be more palatable to older adults, encouraging them to eat and drink adequate amounts.
An easy-to-grow and sprawling herb, planting and cultivating mint is also a wonderful activity for seniors. Start your plant from clippings, which is easier than starting from seed. Your mint will take off, with your older adults reaping the rewards of their gardening in no time.
Keep in mind that mint tends to take over a garden. Consider controlling its growth in your garden bed by planting it in pots and then sinking those pots in the ground, slightly raised, so you’ll be able to trim around the border.
Five ideas on how to use your mint this summer:
- Add mint sprigs to a pitcher of water or iced tea and let the flavor seep in for at least 30 minutes.
- Tear or cut mint leaves and add to water in an ice cube tray and then freeze.
- Give veggies a boost and sprinkle fresh or dried mint during the last two minutes of cooking time. (Adding to carrots, cauliflower and zucchini are our personal favorites.)
- Create a low-sugar fizzy drink. Muddle a handful of mint leaves in the bottom of a glass. Then, add one robust squeeze of lime juice and top off with club soda.
- Add to Greek yogurt.
One last tip for this month – consider expanding beyond traditional mint. The entire family of herbs is delightful, and includes varieties such as orange mint, lemon balm and chocolate mint.