Gardening at The Bridges Assisted Living Community has become a favorite pastime for many residents who are enjoying “the fruits of their labor” in numerous ways. Their gardening efforts reduce stress and anxiety and improve their cognitive abilities. As it turns out, gardening tends to make one happier and healthier!
For older adults, gardening can help increase flexibility, hand strength, and eye-hand coordination. Donna Wang, assistant professor of social work at Long Island University published a study on the benefits of gardening for older adults in the Journal of Housing for the Elderly. According to Wang, in addition to the benefits listed above, gardening can be a new learning opportunity, which stimulates cognitive functioning.
In a community setting, such as The Bridges Assisted Living community, gardening provides the opportunity for social interaction and group participation among assisted living residents. It is well known that staying socially active can help maintain one’s physical and emotional well-being. Four handicapped-accessible raised planters, filled with herbs and plants that attract butterflies, allow our residents to actively partake in gardening. Chef Clyde gladly adds the herbs to the meals he prepares. The butterfly-attracting plants are growing and butterflies are feeding on the plants’ nectar.
Residents participate in gardening activities several times throughout the month. It is a rewarding and therapeutic experience for all ages.