June is a great month for getting outside in the garden. The improved weather and the flowering plants, the birds and other creatures all create a great sense of all being well in the world.
Gardens hold great significance in care homes and have numerous benefits for the residents.
Here's 8 reasons why gardens matter in care homes:
1. Connection with Nature:
Gardens provide a direct connection to the natural world, enabling residents to enjoy the beauty of plants, flowers, and the outdoors.
Being in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving overall mood.
2. Therapeutic and Sensory Stimulation:
Engaging with a garden can offer various sensory experiences, such as the feel of soil, the fragrance of flowers, the sounds of birds, and the sight of vibrant colors.
These sensory stimuli can be calming, stimulating, and pleasurable, promoting sensory integration and providing therapeutic benefits.
3. Physical Activity and Mobility:
Gardens provide a space for residents to engage in light physical activities, such as walking, stretching, or gardening tasks.
These activities can contribute to maintaining or improving mobility, coordination, strength, and balance. Thus, reducing the risk of falls.
4. Cognitive Stimulation:
Gardens offer opportunities for cognitive stimulation and engagement.
Residents can participate in gardening activities, such as planting, watering, and caring for plants, which involve problem-solving, decision-making, and following instructions. Additionally, gardens can provide opportunities for residents to share their own knowledge and learn about different plants, their names, and their characteristics, promoting continuous learning and mental stimulation.
5. Social Interaction and Community Building:
Gardens often serve as a communal space where residents can come together, interact, and engage in group activities.
This fosters a sense of community, belonging, and connection among residents, promoting socialisation and the development of supportive relationships.
6. Sense of Purpose and Achievement:
Involving residents in gardening tasks gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Watching plants grow, bloom, or produce fruits and vegetables can provide a sense of fulfillment, boosting self-esteem and overall satisfaction.
7. Therapeutic Horticulture:
Horticultural therapy programs, which utilise gardening activities for therapeutic purposes, can be implemented in care homes.
These programs have been shown to have positive effects on physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, improved mood, and increased social engagement.
8. Outdoor Recreation and Enjoyment:
Gardens offer a peaceful and aesthetically pleasing environment for residents to spend time outdoors, relax, and enjoy nature.
Whether it's sitting on a bench, reading a book, or simply appreciating the beauty of the surroundings, gardens provide a tranquil space for leisure and recreation.
Care homes should strive to create and maintain gardens that are accessible, safe, and inclusive for residents of all abilities.
Designing wheelchair-friendly paths, raised flower beds, or sensory gardens can ensure that residents can fully engage with the garden environment.
Regular garden maintenance and involving residents in the planning and care of the garden can also foster a sense of ownership and pride among the residents.
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