Gardening as therapy

popi_gwNovember 22, 2006

Hi there

I am looking for some ideas to encourage elderly people with some activities to do with plants. In the hope of putting a smile on their face, and doing something creative.

I wonder if anybody knows of anything like this, perhaps in a nursing home environment, or retirement home.

I need some ideas on how to get the ball rolling, how to approach establishments, and what sort of activity would work best.

I am thinking something like doing cuttings, and potting them up, and each resident could have the plant in their room. I dont know...any better suggestions.

Thanks for your help.


I have training in Horticulture.

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In the nursing homes, who do you think will take care of watering and tending those plants in the room? You can bet that few of the patients would be able to do it, either physically or mentally. Anyone that is still capable of having plants and caring for them, most likely already has a few in the room.

You would also have a problem with available light. It will vary from room to room. And what if water is spilled on the floor as a patient tries to water the plant? That's very likely to happen. And then a patient slips in the water? What you want to do would require more work from the staff. Practically all such homes are understaffed. They really don't need to watch after your plants. As far as cuttings, some of the patients won't live long enough to see them root.

I know you mean well, but what you are thinking about simply isn't a good idea on several levels. Not to mention the sorrow that a patient might feel should their plant die.

May I suggest that if you are interested in brightening their day, check with the administation and see if there is an area where the patients can go to sit and look at special arrangements of some sort. Container gardens, etc. Ferns and blooming flowers with lots of color add so much. Annuals would probably be the best. You could put in new ones as the older ones finished blooming. I am sure that the administration would want you to see that the plants were properly maintained. They are not going to agree to assign staff to do it.

This is a very thoughtful thing for you to want to do, it's just not practical.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 10:10AM
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