After Thanksgiving, both bellies and hearts are filled with gratitude. Leverage that sense of community spirit and goodwill to spark engagement with your therapeutic garden this fall. All of your publics – from seniors who live within your community, their families and visitors, your staff and volunteers, and the community at large – can benefit from your garden.
In today’s world, families expect communities to provide opportunities for renewed, or newly discovered, purpose and passion. Look around and think beyond flowers. What do you have access to, in terms of natural resources, interest and talent?
Director of Dining at Foulkeways (Pennsylvania) John Kennedy shares that they have “always had a spirit of community.” Their property also happens to boast more than 20 fruit trees. Foulkeways capitalized on this natural opportunity for engagement, involving residents in caring and harvesting the orchard. Staff and residents alike then host what is collectively known as the “Sharing Table” where anyone with a generous spirit can contribute or receive fruits, vegetables and herbs grown by others.
What is your differentiator? A few other interesting ideas we have come across that engage older adults, while contributing to a sense of gratitude, include:
- Partnering with a local food pantry to collect and host a food drive for fresh vegetables and fruit
- Teaching older adults how to manage honeybee hives, and then giving honey away as gifts
- Creating essential oils from herbs grown on site, such as peppermint or lavender, and incorporating those essential oils into wellness activities for residents