The evidence is in that the use of healing or therapeutic gardens for older citizens is beneficial to their well being. There have been many psychological and physical benefits documented that prove gardening provides natural relief from a myriad of issues that plague senior citizens.
It’s especially helpful to have a plot for growing vegetables, fruit and herbs so that those who are physically able to work in the garden can improve their physical strength in things like hand-grip, reducing blood pressure and anxiety by lessening stress, and improving the body mass index.
For those who aren’t physically able to work in a garden, there is therapeutic value in wellness gardens where there are water features, shaded pathways and designated places for sitting and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.
Many garden designers are incorporating scent therapy in garden designs for nursing homes and Alzheimer’s centers. The “Proust Syndrome” is a phenomenon that medical researchers call it when a scent triggers a memory, usually from childhood or adolescence.
It’s been proven that scents can have a huge impact in restoring the memories of times in the past. The memory that the scent awakens can form a huge memory of places, people and things that were experienced. We all know the impact of smelling the scent of a peach cobbler or other cooking scent that conjures up a picture of eating Sunday dinner at Grandmother’s house.
Landscaping also plays an important part in creating therapeutic gardens for the elderly. Gently sloping, green berms and gently flowing pathways through the garden can create a sense of serenity.
Planning the garden so that there are flowers during every season is also a trick of the trade when creating a therapeutic garden that appeals to both the eyes and the nose. Statues, water features that create the sight and sound of serenity and many other techniques can help the elderly become more relaxed in a new living space.
Those facilities that do have gardens designed to be therapeutic for the elderly have reported a significant difference in the way their residents react with each other and the calmness they have after a visit to the garden.
You can use the power of scent and the creativity of design in your own home to evoke wonderful memories of the past that will make you smile and also create memories with your loved ones for the future.