One of our residents’ favorite activities at our Anthem Memory Care communities is gardening. It was a pastime so many of them enjoyed in their earlier years. And family members often share stories of these beautiful gardens, often the envy of their neighborhoods.
It is so important for aging individuals, especially those living with dementia, to be able to continue to pursue the hobbies and interests they had in their younger years. Filling the day with purposeful activities is one of our ongoing goals at Anthem communities. And, these days, it’s gardening on everyone’s minds.
Gardening, as we know, for so many brings great enjoyment. But there are clear health benefits to gardening as well. Some key benefits include:
- Releases tension and reduces stress.
- Gives a clear sense of purpose through caring for living things.
- Provides physical exercise by working the garden and watering the plants.
- Stimulates the senses.
- Fosters a connection to nature and the surrounding environment.
Among the gardeners in our communities are several who have gained outside recognition, either for their “green thumbs” or, in some cases, for their ingenuity. Recently, Linden Mathews, a WWII veteran and resident at Chelsea Place Memory Care in Aurora, Colorado, led a group of fellow residents in a special “gardening day” project to build a unique tomato cage to hold fledgling tomato plants. The tomato cage, as he and his family explained, was an invention Linden had patented years ago. And he was happy to pass along his expertise to residents and staff as they worked to build and grow their vegetable gardens. The gardening event was covered by local Aurora TV station, KDVR Fox 31. You can view the coverage below:
Are you a family caregiver for a loved one living with dementia? Did he or she once enjoy gardening? Consider putting together a plant bed or even some pots and soil so that they can enjoy the experience of planting again. The feel of the soil and the purposeful act of working to make something grow again can soothe the nerves and uplift the spirits.