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Benefits of Gardening For Those With Alzheimer’s

Published on June 20th, 2019

Benefits of Gardening For Those With Alzheimer’sGetting out in Mother Nature, for any activity, is always a good idea. The fresh air, the light exercise, the sun (if you live in a warmer climate) can work wonders on the health.

Gardening, in particular, is a wonderful hobby to get involved in, especially if you’re quite stressed in your day-to-day life. There’s something about getting your hands dirty, about creating something beautiful, that’s very soothing.

For those with Alzheimer’s, gardening is an especially nurturing activity. Here’s why…

Four benefits of getting out and gardening:

1. It provides color therapy

Ever wondered why people always bring flowers to a hospital room? Well, maybe it’s done out of habit now, but it started out of a need to add warmth, light and color to an otherwise sterile atmosphere.

Flowers add a splash of brightness and a dash of hope in the grayness of a condition like Alzheimer’s. And to be the person creating that brightness, that beauty and color – that’s a pretty powerful thing. It gives the person a chance to express themselves in a whole new way, through their beauty and their art, and to be surrounded by the comfort of color. Those who work in dementia care, memory care and Alzheimer’s care, or in any assisted living capacity, know the power of the color palate!

2. It involves plenty of green space

Green spaces aren’t just used by city planners to attract tourists (well, maybe they are but they have plenty of spin-off benefits!) In terms of lifestyle, they encourage more people to get outdoors. To spend more time with their communities. While in terms of mental health, they have been proven to “alleviate mental fatigue by relaxing and restoring the mind”.

So just taking time out to relax in a green space can be deeply healing for a person living with Alzheimer’s. And if they can play a part in the creation of that green space, even better. It will especially be appreciated in Chandler, which we know can be hot and dry!

3. It provides a new environment

Dementia gardens are becoming increasingly popular for good reason. And now they’re being embraced by assisted living organizations in Chandler, too.

Why? Well, spending time in a less clinical, institutionalized environment, where they have more freedom and space, can be very beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s. They can enjoy a sense of community as the garden comes together. Even a sense of ownership as they get to be the caregiver (of plants and wildlife) for a change!

This can lead to lower levels of agitation and aggression, decreased isolation and depression and improved social interactions. Even when they’re not busy gardening, people have a place to relax and restore.

4. It promotes healthier brain function

The act of gardening can help those with Alzheimer’s maintain their cognitive skills and interests – even, in some cases, help them to regain lost skills. It increases attention span, can increase brain volume and grey matter, and improve orientation to places and times.

On a more physical level, gardening can lead to less falls and injuries, while the direct sunlight can build bone density and improve sleep cycles. This is a particularly important point, as so much of our health depends on our ability to sleep.

So whether you’re working in memory care, dementia care or Alzheimer’s care, get your patients out into the fresh air. Encourage them to engage in this mindful, therapeutic activity and enjoy the benefits of their labor afterwards, chances are they’ll sleep sounder that night… and wake up a happier person come morning.

That’s a wrap!

You’ve seen how beneficial gardening can be – for everyone, but especially for those with Alzheimer’s. So if you know someone who you think could use a little more green space in their lives, you know what to do. Get them some gloves, a watering can and some bulbs and you’re good to go!

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Chandler, AZ 85248

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