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The Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Abstract

This article systematically reviews evidence for gardening as a beneficial activity for older adults. The authors reviewed 22 articles that assessed the benefits of gardening for both community-dwelling and institutionalized older adults. Through various research designs (quantitative and qualitative) and measurements utilized, the results reveal that gardening can be an activity that promotes overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialization. The implementation of various aspects of gardening as health-promoting activities transcend contexts of practice and disciplines and can be used in urban and rural communities as both individual and group activities.

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... A review examined the effectiveness of gardening programs, including 22 studies with various research designs. The findings revealed that gardening could promote overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialization [3]. Horticultural therapy also stimulates sensory functions, enabling older adults to achieve satisfaction and improve their self-esteem [3,4]. ...
... The findings revealed that gardening could promote overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialization [3]. Horticultural therapy also stimulates sensory functions, enabling older adults to achieve satisfaction and improve their self-esteem [3,4]. Gardening activities often involve substantial interaction with peers, resulting in increased opportunities for social interaction and reduced depression and loneliness [5,6]. ...
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Background Aging societies are a public health concern worldwide. It is critical to develop strategies that harness technology to enhance older adults’ mastery, achievement motives, self-esteem, isolation and depression effectively. Methods This study aimed to explore the effects of a combination of three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) and hands-on horticultural activities on the psychological well-being of community-dwelling older adults. We used a quasi-experimental design. A total of 62 community-dwelling older adults were recruited and assigned to the experimental ( n = 32) and comparison groups ( n = 30). The members of the experimental group participated in an 8-week intervention program. Participants of both groups completed before-and-after intervention measurements for outcome variables that included perceived self-esteem, depression, isolation, and mastery and achievement motives, which were analyzed using the generalized estimating equation (GEE). A baseline score of depression was used as an adjustment for the GEE analyses to eliminate the effects of depression on outcomes. Results After controlling age and gender as confounders, GEE analyses indicated that the experimental group showed significant post-intervention improvements in scores for self-esteem (β = 2.18, P = .005) and mastery (β = 1.23, P = .039), compared to the control group. Conclusions This study supported a combination of three-dimensional VR and hands-on horticultural activities on community-dwelling older adults to improve self-esteem and mastery. The findings suggest that the future implementation of a similar program would be feasible and beneficial to community-dwelling older adults. Trial registration The study was posted on www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05087654) on 21/10/2021. It was approved by the Institutional Review Board of En Chu Kong Hospital and performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
... Scores for each category are normalised according to population means taken from a large Western population. The SF 36 v2 has also been previously used by several other researchers investigating health outcomes arising from gardening [11,23,32,33]. An additional question was used to ascertain whether the respondents' responses to the SF 36 v2 were typical or whether they might have been affected by illness, injury, or a significant emotional experience such as marriage or becoming a parent. ...
... The physical component scores from this study were also significantly higher for older participants, compared to means from a Western population [35]. This supported studies suggesting that gardening may be more beneficial for the elderly generation (e.g., [33]). ...
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This study is the first to consider, and estimate, the influence of gardening routines on exposures to both health benefits and health risks. This holistic approach helped to contrast the healthy lifestyle of gardening with health risks from exposures to potentially toxic elements such as Cd and Pb in urban environments. A total of 120 participants who grew their own produce in an urban setting were recruited to the study. A detailed questionnaire was developed that included sections on gardening activity, cultivation and consumption of produce, consumption of commercially grown produce, and other lifestyle factors. Administered alongside the questionnaire was the Short Form 36 (v2) as a standardised tool for measuring physical and mental health. Fruit and vegetable consumption was found to be correlated with the amount of gardening individuals did in autumn/winter and was greater than fruit and vegetable consumption, on average, in the UK general population. Levels of physical activity were also found to be higher in our study than regional averages, whilst BMI was lower than average. This is the first study to find a relationship between gardening more regularly (in autumn/winter) and the physical component of the Short Form 36, and this relationship was elevated compared to non-gardening populations. The physical component scores from this study were also significantly higher for older participants, compared to means from a Western population. This finding supports studies suggesting that gardening may be more beneficial for the elderly generation. These benefits were assessed in the context of potential exposures estimated from the type and frequency of produce being consumed. The benefit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is likely to outweigh the health risks of gardening on soils mildly contaminated with Cd and Pb but requires formal consideration within a risk management framework.
... An ageing population would most likely increase policy demand for designing accessible and safe public spaces (see the section "Boost innovation for health care and mobility"), which will have major implications for Target 11.7 (universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces). On the one hand, green spaces can promote physical activity and improve the physical and mental health among older people 64,65 , paying clear dividends for other SDGs (see the section "Boost innovation for health care and mobility"). However, there are many barriers preventing older people from using green spaces, for example due to safety concerns 66 or their design that often prioritizes other users (e.g. ...
... Increase the extent and improve the design of green spaces There is a strong evidence-base to suggest that public and green spaces (including urban agriculture) can have ripple positive outcomes for the physical, mental and psychological health of urban residents (Fig. 5) [79][80][81] . Green spaces can promote physical activity among older people, with cross-sectional surveys linking the engagement with (and quality of) open spaces to the increased life satisfaction, and reduced loneliness and social isolation of the elderly 64,65 . Green spaces have also played a crucial role as familiar escapes during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and other hazards. ...
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Population ageing and shrinking are demographic phenomena with far-reaching implications for sustainability in the current context of extensive and rapid urbanization. This Perspective rationalizes their interface by (a) identifying the challenges and opportunities that ageing and shrinking urban populations will have for implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and (b) discussing some emerging interventions to capitalise on the opportunities and reduce the challenges to achieving sustainability. We argue that a diverse set of context-specific technological, socioeconomic, institutional and governance interventions would be needed to leverage effectively the opportunities and minimize the risks posed by ageing and shrinking urban populations for long-term sustainability.
... Gardening, in general, has been associated with a wide range of mental and social health outcomes, such as less mood disturbance, anxiety, and depression, as well as better life satisfaction, quality of life, sense of community, and cognitive function. 10,11 Gardening could also lower body mass index (BMI) by encouraging physical activity. 10 In older adults, it may improve overall physical condition by increasing physical strength and ability. ...
... 10 In older adults, it may improve overall physical condition by increasing physical strength and ability. 11 Evidence of the positive impact of gardening on health comes from institutionalized settings (such as school, hospital, nursing home or health centre) [12][13][14][15][16] ; however, less is known about the health effects of collective gardening in free-living urban adults. Authors of a recent review and meta-analysis found evidence of a beneficial effect of gardening in free-living adult populations in terms of BMI, nutrition, and physical health, compared with nongardeners, but this review did not look specifically at urban collective gardening. ...
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Article
Context Collective gardens are increasingly considered a tool to promote health and well-being. Objective In this systematic review, we critically appraise quantitative studies exploring the potential health benefits of urban collective garden participation. Data Sources Articles published between January 2000 and August 2020 were used. Data Extraction All original research studies reporting at least 1 health outcomes associated with urban collective gardening in free-living adults from Western and other high-income countries were included. Of 1261 articles identified, 15 were included in the systematic review. Methodological quality was assessed by applying the criteria of the Quantitative Study Quality Assessment Tool. Analysis A wide range of health indicators was used. Collective gardening was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption than was nongardening. Mixed results were found for physical activity and physiological health. A positive association was found in most studies with mental health and social health. However, the vast majority of included studies were cross-sectional and presented selection bias (n = 13 of 15 for both) and very few used objective measurement methods (n = 3 of 15). Conclusions Longitudinal studies allowing the exploration of causal relationships are needed before the health benefits of collective garden participation suggested by existing studies can be confirmed.
... Such aspects may help offset more serious mental and physiological health problems (Engemann et al., 2019). Community gardening has often been associated with health and social benefits (Soga et al., 2017;Wang & MacMillan, 2013), but increasingly private domestic (also known as home or residential) gardens have also been linked to health and well-being improvements (Cameron & Hitchmough, 2016;Cervinka et al., 2016;Chalmin-Pui et al., 2020;de Bell et al., 2020). ...
... Its help in maintaining/promoting physical exercise was also noted by 14% of respondents. Ashton-Shaeffer and Constant (2006) and Wang and MacMillan (2013) also suggested that for people with health issues, the opportunity for physical exercise and keeping fit, was an important consideration to take up/maintain gardening. ...
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Article
Domestic (home) gardens provide opportunities for psychological and physical health benefits, yet these environments have received less attention in terms of their therapeutic value compared to other urban green spaces. This is despite their ubiquity and the popularity of gardening as a pastime. This research explored why residents engaged with gardening and the extent to which they recognised any health benefits from the activity. A questionnaire was distributed electronically within the UK, with 5766 gardeners and 249 non-gardeners responding. Data were collated on factors including garden typology, frequency of gardening and individual perceptions of health and well-being. Significant associations were found between improvements in well-being, perceived stress and physical activity and more frequent gardening. Gardening on a frequent basis i.e. at least 2–3 times a week, corresponded with greatest perceived health benefits. Improving health, however, was not the prime motivator to garden, but rather the direct pleasure gardening brought to the participants. There was evidence that satisfaction with one's front garden and the time spent in it increased as the proportion of vegetation was enhanced. The data supports the notion that domestic gardens should be given greater prominence in urban planning debates, due to the role they play in providing health benefits.
... Still, recent research indicates the positive health contribution of activities performed in other domains of everyday life, both inside and outside the home. For example, studies demonstrate the positive health effects of ordinary housework [14], home gardening [15], and walking and cycling for transportation [16]. Spending time in these domains also intersects with other important aspects of sustainable living, for example, walking and biking can replace car use [17] and spending time in nature and gardening are associated with better mental health and subjective wellbeing [18]. ...
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Article
Background Understanding how older adults spend time in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) is crucial to understanding healthy ageing. This study connects 24-h time-use diary records of the daily activities of a sample of Swedish older adults to energy intensities. The aim was to: i) estimate the prevalence of Swedish older adults (aged 65–84 years) who achieved recommended daily levels of physical activity; ii) identify what domains of everyday life contribute to MVPA; and iii) explore socio-demographic factors affecting rates of active living. Methods We draw on two Swedish nationally representative samples of time-use diary data from 2000/2001 and 2010/2011. Data covering the duration of all activities performed over two days were combined with activity-intensity information (metabolic equivalent of task [MET] values) to estimate the energy expenditure (MET min) originating from MVPA. Results Results indicate that 94.1% of Swedish older adults achieved the WHO-recommended minimum level of daily MVPA in 2010/2011; the share remained unchanged over the period. MVPA performed in natural environments (24.2%), during housework (22.8%), and on everyday walks in one’s local area (18.1%) were dominant domains contributing to energy expenditure. Home maintenance and repairs (8.8%), active transport (9.9%), and physical exercise (8.2%) contributed to a lesser extent. In 2000/2001, total MVPA energy expenditure was associated with gender, housing, living region, and disability; in 2010/2011, except for disability, these associations were no longer significant. Conclusions The high proportion of older adults who achieved the recommended level of MVPA, their allocation of MVPA time to diverse domains, and the reduced social distribution over time suggest that elderly people increasingly find their own paths to everyday physical activity. This indicates a need to promote MVPA not only in established ways, such as prescribed training programmes. The importance of active physical activities in natural environments, and of regular walks in the vicinity of home, indicates a need to incorporate healthy ageing considerations in wider urban and regional planning, for example, to increase access to natural environments and urban walkability. Also, older adults’ involvement in household chores, maintenance and repairs, and active transport extends responsibility to new policy areas.
... Humans have a natural connection to plants and nature, which may contribute to their well-being [1]. Connectedness to nature has, therefore, the potential to promote pro-environmental behavior [2] and well-being [3]. ...
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Article
Gardens provide spaces for connectedness to nature, which contributes to human well-being and promotes pro-environmental behavior. However, the provision of ecosystem services (ES) in gardens of sub-Saharan Africa is challenged by a lack of knowledge, resulting in inefficient gardening practices. Stakeholders also influence the manifestation of ES provisioning through their perceptions, learning, and decisions. Health clinic gardens may be able to address some of these challenges where other types of gardens fail because of a lack of awareness of other garden benefits and a lack of gardening skills and knowledge, among other factors. Thus, this study aimed to assess stakeholder perceptions of ES provided by health clinic gardens in the North-West province, South Africa. Survey questionnaires were administered to 218 stakeholders across 105 health clinic gardens to ascertain their involvement and prioritization of the ES provided by the gardens and their perspectives on gardens in general. The diversity and abundance of stakeholders per clinic garden were enumerated based on the respondents’ reports. Stakeholder prioritization of ES was scored out of 5, where 1 is the least prioritization. Health clinic gardens have a diversity of one to five types of stakeholders per garden, and more than 80% of the gardens were reported to have a groundsman. Stakeholders spent 1.5 ± 0.5 to 4.7 ± 0.12 days/week engaged in garden activities. Groundsmen spent the most time (4.7 ± 0.12 days/week) in the gardens, while facility managers spent the least (0.90 ± 0.12). Regulating and cultural ES, each scoring an average of 3.7 out of 5, were perceived as the most valuable ES of health clinic gardens. A “garden” was mainly associated with vegetable cultivation and rarely linked with recreation or aesthetical appreciation. A case for establishing these gardens across the country and other developing countries of the Global South can be made through the assessment of their potential ES from the perspectives of stakeholders. This study addresses this topic and contributes to an understanding of the importance of a variety of stakeholders for maintaining functional health clinic gardens.
... A mental health diagnosis was not a requirement for inclusion. Previous reviews have focused on interventions within residential care settings and people with dementia, therefore these groups were excluded (see Nicholas et al., 2019;Wang & MacMillan, 2013;Yeo et al., 2020). ...
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Article
Background: There is increasing interest in the association between nature, health and wellbeing. Gardening is a popular way in which interaction with nature occurs and numerous gardening projects aim to facilitate wellbeing among participants. More research is needed to determine their effectiveness. Aim: To systematically evaluate the effectiveness of group-based gardening interventions for increasing wellbeing and reducing symptoms of mental ill-health in adults. Methods: A systematic review of Randomised Controlled Trials was conducted following the protocol submitted to PROSPERO (CRD42020162187). Studies reporting quantitative validated health and wellbeing outcomes of the community residing, adult populations (18+) were eligible for inclusion. Results: 24 studies met inclusion criteria: 20 completed and four ongoing trials. Meta-analyses suggest these interventions may increase wellbeing and may reduce symptoms of depression, however, there was uncertainty in the pooled effects due to heterogeneity and unclear risk of bias for many studies. There were mixed results for other outcomes. Research limitations/implications: Heterogeneity and small sample sizes limited the results. Poor reporting precluded meta-analysis for some studies. Initial findings for wellbeing and depression are promising and should be corroborated in further studies. The research area is active, and the results of the ongoing trials identified will add to the evidence base.
... Public health research evidence supports the importance of allotments for older adults, which are associated with reduced stress and better perceived social cohesion and health (Hawkins et al., 2011;Soga et al., 2017). Gardening activities, or horticultural therapy, also connect individuals to nature, enhance their well-being and isare beneficial for physical activity (Wang and MacMillan, 2013;Lin et al., 2021). The Midlands Art Centre was another local facilitator that was noted to have promoted physical and social activities. ...
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Article
Urban age-friendly initiatives strive to promote active and healthy ageing by addressing urban influences that impact individuals as they age. Collaborative community partnerships with multi-level stakeholders are crucial for fostering age-friendly initiatives that can transform urban community health. Employing a citizen social science (CSS) approach, this study aimed to engage older adults and stakeholders in Birmingham, UK, to (i) identify key urban barriers and facilitators to active and healthy ageing, and (ii) facilitate collaboration and knowledge production to lay the groundwork for a citizen science project. Older adults (n = 16; mean age = 72(7.5 SD); 11 female) and community stakeholders (n = 11; 7 female) were engaged in six online group discussions, with audio recordings transcribed and thematically analysed to present key urban barrier and facilitator themes. Ageism, winter, technology and safety were barriers identified by both groups. Outdoor spaces and infrastructure, transportation, community facilities, and Covid-19 pandemic were identified as barriers and/or facilitators. Older adults identified the ageing process as a barrier and diversity of the city, health and mobility and technology as facilitators. For stakeholders, barriers were deprivation and poverty, gender differences, and ethnicity, whereas age-inclusive activities were a facilitator. Organic and active opportunities for older adults and stakeholders to connect, co-produce knowledge on urban environments and share resources presented foundations of solution-building and future collaboration. CSS effectively facilitated a range of stakeholders across local urban spaces to collaborate and co-produce ideas and solutions for enhancing local urban environments to promote active and healthy ageing.
... In this study, interestingly, the physical enthusiasts were found to have the highest score on 'working in the garden' and the lowest BMIs of the three groups. Gardening is a moderate to rigorous physical exercise that has been linked to higher levels of physical and mental health (Cheng & Pegg, 2016;Robson et al., 2015;Wang & MacMillan, 2013). This study offers additional insights into the negative associations between physically demanding leisure (e.g., physical exercise and gardening) and the BMI. ...
Article
To promote health and healthy aging, it is important to develop supportive environments and specific opportunities for meaningful and valuable social engagement. The current study examined the differences of Body Mass Index (physical health indicator), perceived health, happiness, and depression (mental health indicators) according to the clusters of leisure participation patterns among older adults who were retired and living in the community. A sample of 1,134 participants aged 60 years and older was extracted from the Alameda County Health and Ways of Living Study. The result of K-means cluster analysis revealed that there were three distinctive leisure participation patterns: the ardent achievers, the physical enthusiasts, and the easy contenders. The multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) showed that the ardent achievers had the highest perceived mental health and happiness scores and the lowest depressive symptoms scores. Physical enthusiasts demonstrated the highest scores on ‘working in the garden’ and the lowest Body Mass Index of the three groups, which is one of the important indicators for physical health. Activity professionals may encourage older adults living in the community to work in the garden or other moderate to rigorous physical exercise, which may contribute to increased physical and mental health of older adults. Further practical implications are discussed.
... The valuable rewards of serious leisure alone are sufficient to keep leisure participants engaged. Every serious leisure career consists of the continual pursuit of these rewards, which take the participants months or years to achieve deep satisfaction of serious leisure (Wang & MacMillan, 2013). ...
Article
Multispecies leisure has recently become an area of attention. Pet-keeping is one of the popular leisure activities today. This study aims to explore the relationship between pet attachment and life satisfaction, with particular focus on the mediating effect of the leisure seriousness and rewards on the relationship mentioned above. A total of 275 responses were collected at a pet exhibition. SEM and SPSS were employed for data analysis. The results revealed that pet attachment is positively related to pet owners’ life satisfaction. The effects of leisure seriousness, personal reward, and social reward were shown to mediate the relationship between pet attachment and life satisfaction. The pet-keeping practices during the COVID-19 pandemic are provided based the serious leisure perspective.
... 18 Gardening has been shown to promote overall health and QOL, including physical fitness and strength, fall prevention, cognitive ability, socialization, pain and stress reduction, and improved life satisfaction and self-esteem. 19-23 Yet, current understandings of older adults' sensory engagement with the natural environment remain under-researched. 17 In response to the great and immediate need to address the mental wellness and psychosocial needs identified by the longterm care facility resident, our team of long-term care facility residents, dietitians, researchers and staff co-designed a gardening pilot program as a means to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement and to potentially reduce social isolation and loneliness. ...
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Background Engagement with the natural environment is a meaningful activity for many people. People living in long-term care facilities can face barriers to going outdoors and engaging in nature-based activities. In response to needs expressed by our long-term care facility resident partners, we examined the feasibility and benefits of a co-designed hydroponic and raised-bed gardening program. Methods Our team of long-term care facility residents, staff and researchers co-designed and piloted a four-month hydroponic and raised-bed gardening program along with an activity and educational program, in 2019. Feedback was gathered from long-term care facility residents and staff through surveys (N = 23 at baseline; N = 23 at follow-up), through five focus groups (N = 19: n = 10 staff; n = 9 residents) and through photovoice (N = 5). A qualitative descriptive approach was applied to focus group transcripts to capture a rich account of participant experiences within the naturalistic context, and descriptive statistics were calculated. Results While most residents preferred to go outside (91%), few reported going outside every day (30%). Program participants expressed their joy about interacting with nature and watching plants grow. Analyses of focus group data generated the following themes: finding meaning; building connections with others through lifelong learning; impacts on mental health and well-being; opportunities to reminisce; reflection of self in gardening activities; benefits for staff; and enthusiasm for the program to continue. Conclusion Active and passive engagement in gardening activities benefitted residents with diverse abilities. This fostered opportunity for discussions, connections and increased interactions with others, which can help reduce social isolation. Gardening programs should be considered a feasible and important option that can support socialization, health and well-being.
... However, though generally supported the health-promoting effects of HT on both institutionalised and communitydwelling older adults (e.g. Wang & MacMillan, 2013) on psychological, cognitive, and physical wellbeing, most existing reviews either focused on specific difficulties (Lu et al., 2020;Soga et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2020), or included a more general range of nature-based interventions (Gagliardi & Piccinini, 2019;Kim & Shin, 2020;Tam et al., 2020;Vseteckova et al., 2020;Yeo et al., 2020). Reviews often fail to include research conducted in Eastern societies compared to studies in Western countries (Gagliardi & Piccinini, 2019;Soga et al., 2017). ...
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Article
Aim: This systematic review aims to evaluate changes in Chinese older adults’ psychosocial wellbeing after receiving horticultural therapy, and examine existing evidence regarding horticultural therapy’s effectiveness in a Chinese setting. Method: Intervention studies measuring relevant outcomes amongst older adults and conducted in China were identified from ASSIA, CIHAHL Plus, PsycINFO, EMBASE, MEDLINE, SCOPUS, Web of Science Core Collection and CNKI. Cochrane risk of bias assessment tools were used to appraise study quality. Result: 16 studies were selected, among which four were published in English and 12 in Chinese. Findings suggested that after receiving horticultural therapy, older adults’ psychosocial wellbeing is generally improved, but causal relationships between improvements and horticulture therapy were less clear. Conclusion: Features of horticultural therapy conducted in China is with its cultural and social uniqueness. Existing evidence supports the post-intervention benefits on completion of horticultural therapies, but the limitations in programme design, sample representativeness and methodological robustness limited the quality of the evidence.
... Hung & Lu 2016;Nimrod & Rotem, 2010), gardening (e.g. Wang & MacMillan 2013), volunteering (e.g. Cattan et al., 2011), and various group activities (e.g. ...
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Article
The current approach to “aging well” emphasizes the importance of active leisure participation in late adulthood. This relates to the view that leisure activities enable older adults to stay physically, mentally, and socially active, and they thereby contribute to wellbeing. In spring 2020, leisure activity engagement was significantly hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explores leisure-related experiences and adaptation strategies among Finnish older adults during the period of strict physical distancing. The data comprises letters (N = 77) written by Finnish people (aged 70–93) that were analyzed using content analysis. The study suggests that the reorganization of leisure was particularly influenced by the social significance of leisure activities, the age identities of the participants, and the prevailing ideals of active aging. The paper introduces three strategies of leisure adjustment: building new routines, maintaining activeness, and enjoying slow leisure. The article highlights the importance of investing in older adults’ leisure participation in the aftercare of the pandemic.
... Regarding the moderating effects of age, the effect size was greater for older adults. Considering the group activity components of gardening in this study, older adults who are more affected and isolated by the social distancing policy during the COVID-19 pandemic might benefit more than younger ones from the opportunity of social engagement during the gardening program [70][71][72]. For older adults, gardening programs should be more actively implemented given the benefits of improving physical health, emotional stability, and social relationships [73][74][75]. ...
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Article
Although many people affected by COVID-19 suffer from some form of psychological distress, access to proper treatment or psychosocial interventions has been limited. This study aimed to examine the feasibility and preliminary effects of a therapeutic gardening program conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program consisted of 30 sessions and was conducted at 10 nationwide sites in Korea from June to November 2021. Mental health and well-being were assessed using the Mental Health Screening Tool for Depressive Disorders, Mental Health Screening Tool for Anxiety Disorders, Engagement in Daily Activity Scale, brief version of World Health Organization Quality of Life, and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Cohen’s d value was calculated for the effect size, and a multilevel analysis was used to determine the longitudinal effects of therapeutic gardening. The effect sizes for depression, anxiety, daily activities, quality of life, and mindfulness were 0.84, 0.72, 0.61, 0.64, and 0.40, respectively. Multilevel analyses showed that all five mental health variables improved significantly over time as the therapeutic gardening program progressed. Therapeutic gardening is promising and applicable as a nature-based intervention to improve the mental health of individuals experiencing psychological distress especially in the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Gardeners do often enjoy their encounter with nature (Kaplan, 1973), and encounters with nature have restorative properties that reduce stress and improve mood (Korpela et al., 2008). It is also a legitimate form of exercise, leading to improvements in both physiology and psychology (Wang and MacMillan, 2012). This, of course, does not prove the link between evolution and the love for gardening, but it suggests an atavistic relationship that points toward evolution. ...
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Article
Gardening is a popular practice despite the abundant and affordable food at the grocery store, suggesting gardening is more than just a way to obtain food. The purpose of this article is to explore these other motivations. Evolutionary and pragmatic motivations are first explored, and then discarded, in favor of a values-driven approach. Gardening is depicted as both a form of art and a hobby. As an art form, the writings of iconic philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Martin Heidegger—as well as modern philosophers—are used to articulate the meaning of gardening as an aesthetic experience. As a hobby, gardening is a socially approved form of leisure and productive play. The conclusion is that, in addition to obvious physiological benefits such as food and exercise, gardening helps us acquire higher needs, such as self-actualization and transcendence. Why do we garden? No simple answer can suffice. Gardening, like many interests, is performed both for an end product and for the process itself. Gardeners can hardly be expected to be able to articulate their reasons, just as sports fans would have difficulty articulating why they watch football, or music lovers explaining why songs mesmerize them. When pressed, their answers will be mostly a tautology (e.g., I simply like it). However, this does not mean we cannot make progress in understanding the motivations for gardening. Gardening is a form of exercise, it is a hobby, and is performed for aesthetic pleasure, and research on motivations for all three of these exist—especially that regarding aesthetics.
... Cultivating a garden elevates overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, and vigour and life satisfaction. Gardening is an activity that promotes cognitive function, generates a sense of happiness and meaningfulness and encourages personal and intra-personal relationships (Wang et al., 2013;Soga et al., 2017b;Eng et al., 2019;Park et al., 2019;Ambrose et al., 2020;Spano et al., 2020;Chalmin-Pui et al., 2021). The implementation of various aspects of gardening has led to the development of therapeutic horticulture and the social prescribing of green activities (Husk et al., 2018;Thompson, 2018;Nicholas et al., 2019;Garside et al., 2020;Howarth et al., 2020). ...
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This article describes the changes taking place in the functions of allotment gardens, their perceived value, reasons for purchasing allotments and subjective (self-reported) assessments of their importance during the pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 203 owners of allotment gardens located in three highly urbanised cities in the Silesian Voivodeship (Southern Poland). Semi-structured questionnaires and non-standardised questionnaires were used to collect the data. The results demonstrate that the respondents aged above 61 years (38.5%) have observed a generational change in the function of allotments, from cultivating fruits and vegetables to recreational purposes. Regardless of age, the owners of allotment gardens did not notice any technological progress or new crops. The young respondents (21–30 years) treated allotment gardens as an investment (36.7%), while the respondents aged below 20 years and over 61 years declared that the greatest benefits of allotment gardening are improved health and growing one’s own fruits and vegetables. The respondents aged over 41 years (25.9%) also pointed out the importance of growing their own produce. Allotments were especially important during the pandemic as a private space free from COVID-related restrictions. Extended interviews with the respondents revealed that allotment gardening was perceived as a coping strategy for the stress generated during the lockdown. This study showed that allotment gardens are important sites not only for food production but also for maintaining mental health, social capital and environmental engagement.
... It is becoming increasingly clear that the relationships between loneliness, social isolation (defined as an objective lack of social contacts), and mental health need to be considered in their wider built environmental contexts [16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]. People living in remote areas experience poor transport links, reduced local activity choices, and poor digital connectivity. ...
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Article
Given the links between the built environment and loneliness, there is interest in using place-based approaches (addressing built environment characteristics and related socio-spatial factors) in local communities to tackle loneliness and mental health problems. However, few studies have described the effectiveness, acceptability, or potential harms of such interventions. This review aimed to synthesize the literature describing local community-based interventions that target place-based factors to address loneliness and mental health problems, informing the development of future public health approaches. We searched PsycINFO, Medline, and Embase using a structured search strategy to identify English-language studies evaluating the effectiveness, acceptability, and potential harms of place-based community interventions in addressing loneliness and mental health problems, both in general and clinical populations. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria, classified as evaluating provision of community facilities (such as clubhouses), active engagement in local green spaces, and housing regeneration. None were randomised trials. Quantitative and qualitative findings suggested promising effects and/or acceptability of six interventions, with minimal potential harms. There is a clear need for randomised trials or quasi-experimental studies of place-based interventions to describe their effectiveness in addressing loneliness and mental health problems, as well as complementary qualitative work investigating acceptability. This will inform future policy development.
... Gardening has been considered to have therapeutic advantages in the promotion of general wellbeing, quality of life, increasing physical and cognitive ability as well as socialisation in health older adults (Wang & MacMillan, 2013). A structured gardening programme involving 12 participants with early onset dementia, aged under 65 years was found to have positive effects on well-being and therapeutic effects on self-esteem and confidence whilst recognising the physical constraints such activities may involve (Hewitt et al. 2013). ...
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Thesis
The potential of developing new technologies that may assist people living with dementia to successfully navigate their day is increasingly recognised. Interventions include prompts and reminders to support memory function as well as safety detectors and activity monitors. Few however, have recognised the potential of using existing technologies as an intervention to support social interactions and enjoyable activities. This thesis explored the potential of touch screen computer technology in facilitating enjoyable activities with people with dementia who live in the community. The project premise that technology may facilitate enjoyable activity by those with a dementia diagnosis was explored through two successive studies. The first involved attendees at a community day care centre. They were living with moderate to later manifestations of the condition but still lived at home, some alone. The second study involved people with a recent diagnosis of dementia and participants took part in their own homes. The methodology employed was a focused visual ethnography and data collection methods comprised of video-based participant observations and in-depth interviews. Data analysis required the development of a novel technique drawing on concepts of multimodality and visual ethnographic methods which enabled non-verbal behaviour to be represented as equally significant to verbal behaviour. Findings from study 1 indicate that activities were enjoyed ‘in the moment’. Although familiarity of the devices and applications was observed within sessions this did not extend between sessions. Further, the group context in study 1 provides regular social contact for people experiencing life in similar ways. In contrast, findings from study 2 indicated that the use of new knowledge and retained learning occurred across sessions for all participants, irrespective of the style of technology engagement. Nevertheless, the majority of participants in study 2 reported feeling lonely as a consequence of the condition and in need of increased social contact. The conclusions reached suggest that touch screen technology can facilitate enjoyable activities with people living with dementia, irrespective of the level of impairment, if supported appropriately.
... Figure 1 visualises all six principles of this approach. Some studies demonstrate the positive effects of gardening and green surroundings for older people [26][27][28], especially for the nursing home setting [29][30][31] and day-care centres [32,33]. These studies focus on outdoor and therapeutic interventions and less on how gardening activities are integrated into everyday life. ...
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According to demographic data, the percentage of elderly people within the population is growing, representing a vulnerable group to the effects of increasing heat, but little attention has been paid to developed adaptation measures. In addition, many older people leave their familiar homes and live in nursing homes. The person-centred care pursues creating spaces of high living quality for these people in nursing homes, to which plants and greenery can contribute. Greening is also considered an effective climate change adaptation measure. To create healthy conditions for this vulnerable group of elderly, both technical and social factors must be considered, and accordingly, a successful solution can only be achieved in an interdisciplinary way. The research and development of the project “Green: Cool & Care” dealt with this outset from a building physics, social, and nursing science perspective, and concepts to integrate greening measures in nursing homes were developed jointly by researchers, planners, staff, volunteers, and residents. For this purpose, measurement campaigns of air quality parameters, individual interviews and focus groups, as well as co-creative workshops were conducted aiming to include the objective building conditions as well as the subjective needs in developing and, in a further step, implementing greening measures.
... Given a strong evidence base (e.g. Ohly et al., 2016;Waliczek et al., 2000;Wang & MacMillan, 2013), increasing access to materials and land for families to engage in gardening and planting activities could be one way of sustaining increased connection to nature and accessing benefits to well-being. Distributing funding to allow more schools, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, to implement school gardens and nature-based learning programs would also support this goal. ...
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While psychological connection to nature is known to be associated with both pro‐environmental behaviours and well‐being, there is an urgent need to extend this research to consider impacts from the COVID‐19 lockdown period. Examining whether children's connection to nature changed during this period, identifying the drivers of these changes and determining the links between connection to nature and child well‐being can each serve to guide post‐lockdown initiatives to promote children's connection to nature. Three findings emerged from this UK sample of 376 families with young children. First, nearly two thirds of parents reported a change (most typically, an increase) in their child's connection to nature. Explanations for this increase included having more time, increased enjoyment of nature and increased awareness or interest in nature. Second, a third of children whose connection to nature decreased during the pandemic displayed increased problems of well‐being—manifest as either ‘acting out’ (externalising problems) or sadness/anxiety (internalising problems). Third, an increase in connection to nature during the pandemic was more evident for children from affluent families than for their less affluent peers. While connecting to nature may be an effective means of addressing child problems of well‐being, the divergent findings for children from different family backgrounds indicate that efforts to enhance connection to nature should focus on the barriers experienced by children from less affluent families. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
... At the same time, watching plants bloom, grow, and wither through the seasons could help one reappraise one's life (Wang & MacMillan, 2013). These natural processes closely resemble the life cycle of a person, from infancy, adolescence, adulthood, to late-life. ...
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Article
As global lifespan increases, an increasing number of older adults with dementia are likely to age in community. In North America, this number is as high as 81% of all people with dementia (Lepore et al., 2017, p. 1). The neurobiological processes of dementia is known to start decades prior to a diagnosis (Bateman et al., 2012, Fig. 2). In other words, for every person living with dementia, two more are likely to develop dementia over the next three decades (Prince et al., 2015). As such, the neighborhood has become an important site of prevention. This perspective article provides a brief overview of research from various disciplines to encourage "research-by-design," i.e., design studios at universities with a brief to answer the research question: "How might park design prevent cognitive decline?" Exploratory design could seek to enhance the well-being of people with dementia, their care partners, and general older populations that are at-risk of cognitive decline.
... As people age, their social network becomes narrower due to the combined effects of their reliance on stable and close relationships plus a decline in the establishment of new relationships [69]. As such, increased social contact by active participation in activities within the local neighbourhood, such as community gardening, has the potential to reduce loneliness feelings and increase mental health and well-being of older adults, although not restricted to this age group [30, 61,70]. Community gardens provide a place for individuals to interact with other gardeners, neighbours, friends and family, thus contributing for broadening and strengthening of individual social networks, sometimes promoting intergenerational contacts [71] and social cohesion [72]. ...
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IntroductionThere has been growing interest in community gardens as an effective and affordable health promotion strategy. However, most available evidence is derived from qualitative studies, whereas quantitative research on this subject is limited.Objectives To synthetize the literature about physical and mental health outcomes associated with community gardening. Two main questions were addressed: a) is there evidence, from quantitative studies, that community gardening is associated to physical and mental health and well-being of non-institutionalized individuals? b) Does community gardening provokes any discomfort in terms of physical health, i.e., bodily pain, to their beneficiaries?MethodsA systematic review of the literature was carried out following PRISMA guidelines by searching relevant electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science). Empirical, quantitative studies published in English with no restrictions concerning the date of publication were considered eligible. The quality of the evidence was appraised using the tool developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies.ResultsOverall, 8 studies were considered eligible, of which seven studies were rated as having good methodological quality (one scored as fair). Community gardeners had significantly better health outcomes than their neighbours not engaged in gardening activities in terms of life satisfaction, happiness, general health, mental health, and social cohesion.Conclusion Community gardens are associated to health gains for their users, irrespective of age, being an affordable and efficient way of promoting physical and mental health and well-being. To encourage the design, maintenance, and prospective evaluation of supportive urban environments promoting healthy and, at the same time, sustainable lifestyles, is essential to achieve public health gains and environmental sustainability.
... Also, horticultural therapy programs could be conducted in different ways (i.e., individually, in groups, cover areas, outside, inside, or having a garden) (Scott, 2015). Wang and MacMillan (2013) stated that gardening can be conducted in a group as well as with individuals and can establish partnerships among groups and agencies. Söderback, Söderström, and Schälander, (2004) noted that horticultural therapy consists of interventions that involve nature-oriented views, gardens, spaces, garden tools, plants, healing, rehabilitation, used to improve and restore well-being and health, garden occupations that can be done with people that are disabled and offer other general benefits. ...
... A home garden can provide people with sunshine and fresh air, which can have indirect mental health benefits, including helping with sleep and eating patterns (81,82). In addition, spending time in a home garden involves physical activities, which can promote physical strength, health, and flexibility, and additionally, provide mental health benefits (83). And it also shows that spending time in a home garden can provide opportunities for people to interact with their neighbors while obeying social distancing, thereby promoting a sense of community and social connection, and also indirectly improving mental health (37) especially during the lockdowns. ...
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Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to tremendous impacts on human lives and society, which are not only because of negative effects on people’s mental health bringing from isolation policies and physical distance for mitigating the spread of SARS-CoV-2, but also because that incident post-acute sequelae of the coronavirus will cause mental disorders. Green environment is one of health resources, which can benefit human physical and mental health, and also increase biodiversity, as well contribute flood mitigation and cool in urban areas. Home garden as a kind of small green space can provide ecosystem services with eco-healing functions in reducing mental stress during the isolation period of the COVID-19 pandemic through garden itself and physical activities in it. Such eco-healing approach with mini-therapeutic landscape can also benefit biodiversity by enhancing plant diversity in residence and increasing biodiversity at a large scale. In the article, we propose a conceptual framework describing home garden as 'ecological medicine' with healing functions to improve mental health, as well as indirectly enhancing urban biodiversity. Home garden, as a mini-type of green landscape with biodiversity content, allows people to get close contact with nature so that it can promote comfortable and natural feelings during the pandemic. Furthermore, such eco-healing home garden approach with benefiting urban biodiversity can meet the challenges in maintaining environmental and mental health in post COVID-19 pandemic recovery, as well as preparing unknown next-surge risks with potential isolation regulations.
... This intervention, which has been widely used in relevant research (e.g., [67,68]), conveys to older adults that, although their physical condition is not as satisfactory as it was in their youth, they can still lead a happy life as long as they maintain a positive outlook on life. Regarding the emotional aspect, horticulture is a leisure activity favored by older people [69,70]. The researchers selected silvery wormwood (an herbaceous plant) and Yulan magnolia (an aromatic plant), both of which are common in rural Taiwan, to induce fond childhood memories in the participants. ...
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This study investigated the effects of an 8-week horticultural activity intervention on attitudes toward aging, sense of hope, and hand–eye coordination in 88 older adults in residential care facilities. In the experimental group, the mean score for “attitudes toward aging” increased from 3.81 before the intervention to 4.74 points after the intervention (standard deviation SD = 0.24 and 0.27, respectively), and the control group dropped from 3.75 to 3.70 (standard deviations, respectively SD = 0.27 and 0.28). The mean score for “sense of hope” increased from 3.28 before the intervention to 3.81 points after the intervention (SD = 0.49 and 0.26, respectively). In contrast to the control group, the mean score gradually declined from 3.26 to 3.16 points (standard deviation SD = 0.54 and 0.48, respectively). In the test of hand–eye coordination, the time required to complete the cup stacking test significantly decreased from 33.56 to 25.38 s in the experimental group but did not significantly change in the control group. Generalized estimating equation analysis revealed a significant interaction between group and time (p < 0.001). The data trends revealed significant differences in outcomes between the experimental group and the control group. At 3 months after the end of the study, the effect size in the experimental group remained higher than that in the control group.
... Parmi les différentes formes d'espaces verts, l'intérêt croissant des citadins quant à la possibilité de cultiver ses propres fruits et légumes [3] a favorisé l'essor des jardins potagers en ville. De nombreux bénéfices liés à la pratique même du jardinage (tous formats de jardins confondus) ont été décrits notamment sur la santé mentale : diminution des troubles de l'humeur, de l'anxiété et de la dépression, amélioration de la qualité de vie, des fonctions cognitives ou encore de la satisfaction vis-à-vis de sa propre existence [4,5]. Néanmoins, les preuves de l'impact positif du jardinage sur la santé proviennent principalement d'interventions menées dans des milieux institutionnalisés (écoles, hôpitaux, centres de soins, maisons de retraite etc.) [6][7][8][9][10] et peu d'études ont été conduites en population générale urbaine. ...
Article
Résumé De nombreuses villes implantent des jardins collectifs sur leurs territoires dans le but de promouvoir la santé et le bien-être des habitants. Nous avons conduit une revue systématique de la littérature des études s’appuyant sur des méthodes quantitatives pour explorer le lien entre participation à jardin collectif et santé des citadins adultes. Sur les 1430 articles identifiés, 18 ont été retenus. L’outil « d’évaluation de la qualité des études quantitatives » développé par l’EPHPP a été utilisé pour évaluer la qualité méthodologique des études. La participation à un jardin collectif était associée à une plus grande consommation de fruits et légumes, ainsi qu’à un bien-être mental et social accru. Les résultats étaient mitigés pour l’IMC, l’activité physique et d’autres indicateurs de la santé physique. Les études étaient de faible qualité, principalement en raison de leur design transversal (n = 14/18) et de leur risque élevé de biais de sélection (n = 15/18). Davantage d’études longitudinales avec évaluation avant/après et présence d’un groupe contrôle sont nécessaires pour déterminer si les jardins collectifs peuvent être un outil efficace pour promouvoir la santé des citadins.
... Older adults adjust their activities in accordance with their changing abilities (Scott, 2014), enabling activities to continue and providing a sense of control and achievement. Psychological benefits include the ability to nurture and care, to express identity, stress reduction, spiritual renewal, escapism, cognitive functioning, relaxation and socialising (Cheng & Pegg, 2016;Gross & Lane, 2007;Wang & MacMillan, 2013). There is also the concept of caring and associated satisfaction: 'To be generative, to cultivate, to care is both utilitarian and sacred and finds its joyful expression in the reverential duty in the garden' (Wright & Wadsworth, 2014, p. 9). ...
Article
Greenspaces and access to nature are widely accepted as being beneficial to older adult’s health and well-being. Less well known are the natural elements in their domestic outdoor environments that are used and preferred. In this paper, we identify those most preferred by 72 older adults in New Zealand living in family homes, downsized homes and rest homes. Through the use of geographic information system mapping and photos, we assessed how these individual elements relate to residence type, age, frailty and intrinsic interest in nature. The type of residence and innate nature relatedness were strongly reflected in the items selected by participants. The elements most frequently reported across all residence types were primarily non-native flowers/flowering shrubs and trees, sitting places, views, birds, vegetables, fruit and herbs. The findings have implications for landscape garden design and plant selection but also present a challenge for encouraging more native species in domestic environments.
... Gardening is widely recognized as an activity that promotes overall health and quality of life, physical strength, fitness and flexibility, cognitive ability, and socialization (Blair, 2009;Wang & MacMillan, 2013;Scott et al., 2015). Gardening with native species can be an effective way to combat some of the negative effects of "plant-blindness," which include (1) the inability to notice plants in the environment, (2) the inability to recognize the importance of plants in the environment, and (3) the tendency to rank plants as inferior to animals (Wandersee & Schussler, 1999, 2001. ...
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Ecological illiteracy exists, in part, because students may be technologically advanced but often lack intellectual curiosity about their natural environment. Botanical illiteracy, often referred to as "plant blindness," results from several interacting factors, including a lack of interest in plants and insufficient exposure to plant science before students reach college. We were interested in understanding how a hands-on activity planting native plant species translates across undergraduate majors in improving botanical literacy, as well as increasing awareness and concern about the loss of plant and pollinator biodiversity worldwide. We conducted a survey of both life-science majors and nonmajors to examine their attitudes toward native plants and pollinators. We also examined the change in attitudes of science majors following a hands-on native garden planting activity. We found that life-science majors generally had a stronger understanding and valuation of native plants and pollinators than nonmajors. We also found that life-science majors demonstrated an increase in their knowledge and valuation of native plants and pollina-tors after participation in the gardening activity. We suggest that this type of activity is important in alleviating plant blindness and in increasing ecological literacy, even among already knowledgeable science students.
... The benefits of therapeutic environments on human psychology comprise two categories: (1) mental and emotional benefits and (2) advancement in self-placement and perception. The most prominent mental and emotional benefits are relaxation [24,26,27,36,51], improvement in attention [24,28,30,34,39,41,48,52], concentration [26,31,34,53], and mood [23,26,29,34,48,51], and declines in stress [23,24,26,[28][29][30][31]33,34,36,43,48,51,52], anxiety, depression [25,28,30,33,39,48], and anger [39,41]; better self-esteem is the most prominent manifestation of advancement in self-placement and perception [25][26][27][28]34,39,48,54]. These results demonstrate that spending time in natural areas helps people to cope with mental problems and gains importance in tandem with the growing negative impacts of urban areas on human mental health. ...
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Article
The impacts of problems related to dense, unplanned, and irregular urbanization on the natural environment, urban areas, and humankind have been discussed in many disciplines for decades. Because of the circular relationship between humans and their environment, human health and psychology have become both agents and patients in interactions with nature. The field of ecopsychology investigates within this reciprocal context the relationship between human psychology and ecological issues and the roles of human psychology and society in environmental problems based on deteriorated nature–human relationships in urbanized areas. This approach has given rise to ecotherapy, which takes a systemic approach to repairing this disturbed nature–human relationship. This study aims to uncover the relationship between the physical attributes of urban green areas and their potential for providing ecotherapy service to users, first by determining the characteristics of ecotherapeutic urban space and urban green areas given in studies in the ecopsychology and ecotherapy literature, and then by conducting a case study in two urban parks from the Beylikdüzü District of the Istanbul Metropolitan Area. The impacts of these parks’ changing physical characteristics on user experiences are determined through a comparison of their physical attributes and the user experiences related to their ecotherapy services.
... While most research has focused on the visual aspect of nature contact, a few studies have looked at the role of sound (Diette, Lechtzin, Haponik, Devrotes, & Rubin, 2003;Kline, 2009); scent (Li et al., 2006(Li et al., , 2007(Li et al., , 2008Oka, et al., 2008) and even ingestion or inhalation of beneficial bacteria found in soil (Matthews, 2010;Lowry et al., 2007). Some studies have also focused on the benefits of active interaction with nature, particularly gardening and horticultural therapy (Hayashi et al., 2008;Sato, Metoki, Iwamoto, & Satoh, 2003;Turner, Bass, Ting, & Brown, 2002;Wichrowski, Whiteson, Haas, Mola, & Rey, 2005;Wang & MacMillan, 2013). ...
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Thesis
As healthcare organizations and designers accept, and even embrace, healing gardens and other natural spaces as modalities for promoting the health and well-being of patients, visitors, and staff, the spaces provided must be designed and programmed to best optimize user health outcomes. Valid, reliable research instruments can aid in the evaluation of existing spaces. They can also be used as guides and tools for future design and research. The Healthcare Garden Evaluation Toolkit (H-GET) is a set of four standardized instruments developed for use, individually or in combination, by researchers, designers, and healthcare providers to evaluate, design, and research gardens in general acute care hospitals. Evaluation is an important component of research on the designed environment, and is a critical part of evidence-based design. The more valid and reliable the instrument, the greater the likelihood that results will be credible and generalizable. To date, despite a clear need, there are no rigorously tested, validated instruments available for the evaluation of outdoor spaces in general acute care hospitals. The H-GET fills this need. This mixed methods study involved development and testing of the four H-GET instruments: (a) the Garden Assessment Tool for Evaluators; (b) Staff and Patient/Visitor Surveys; (c) Behavior Mapping protocol ; and (d) Stakeholder Interviews. All four instruments were tested at eight Pilot Test sites across the United States. Emphasis with data collection and analysis was on establishing instrument reliability and validity. Data from each instrument were analyzed, and data from the four instruments were triangulated to examine support for validity and to explore specific hypotheses about physical and programmatic factors that promote garden use and user satisfaction. Through H-GET pilot testing, a Healthcare Garden Evaluation Method (HGEM) emerged—a methodological process that the individual instruments facilitate in a rigorous, standardized, research-based format for future studies’ design, protocol, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of findings.
... Physical activities can improve the mental health and well-being of older adults (Stathi et al., 2002). Moreover, one study shows that cognition maintenance of older adults is connected to outdoor activities such as gardening (Wang & MacMillan, 2013). Activities such as this help the individual to reduce stress and improve their cognitive functioning. ...
Article
The primary focus of this study is to examine the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual components of the lifestyle of older adults, with the fundamental aim of designing a cognitive enhancement programme. A total of 142 older adults have taken part, all of whom have normal cognitive functioning. Results revealed that perceptual organisation has significant relationship to developmental age (F = 3.99, p < 0.021). Processing speed has also been found to have a significant link to developmental age (F = 8.02, p < 0.021), p < 0.001. The gender of older adults has no significant relationship to verbal comprehension, perceptual organisation, working memory, and processing speed. In contrast, working memory is linked to civil status (F = 3.45, p < 0.021), p < 0.01. Processing speed was also found to have a significant relationship to civil status (F = 2.71, p < 0.021), p < 0.03. Finally, educational attainment has no significant link to verbal comprehension, perceptual organisation, working memory, and processing speed.
... [62][63][64][65] Gardening activities, for example, are known for their therapeutic (stress reduction), social (connection to family, community, and culture), and physical function benefits (increased or maintained functional ability). 66 Recently, the installation of specialized outdoor exercise equipment for older people in public and aged care settings has shown considerable promise for the promotion of sustained engagement in physical activity as well as physical function gains. 59 For older people with physical health and mobility problems, initial health professional involvement may be required to provide advice regarding the safe use of, and appropriate exercise on, this type of equipment. ...
Article
The world population is aging. With increased life expectancy comes increased risk of major health problems that affect the health and well-being of older adults. Adequate levels of physical activity as specified by current global guidelines can reduce the risk of health problems in older adults. However, fewer than half of older adults are sufficiently active, and thus are unlikely to achieve these health benefits. Older adults living in residential aged care are even more sedentary, with multiple health issues and comorbidities. While meeting physical activity guidelines confers the greatest benefit for physical function, the practicality of adherence to these guidelines for older people who are not healthy and have complex medical issues is questionable. This special interest paper discusses research evidence on the topic of physical activity for older people across the health spectrum, with and without multiple comorbidities. This discussion is informed by professional experience, and suggests practical recommendations to positively impact physical activity engagement in the older adult population.
... Previous research by Martin (2002) has shown that patients with Alzheimer's disease who spent at least 10 min per day in a HL had significantly reduced blood pressure and could regulate their heartbeat more effectively. Direct contact with nature improves the health and wellbeing of the elderly (Wang and MacMillan, 2013). Research conducted in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety (Pouya and Demirel, 2015). ...
Article
The scientific evaluation system of plants is an important premise in the design of healing landscapes (HLs) for improving the quality of life of the elderly. Based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the weights of the HL evaluation indicators for the elderly were calculated, and the comprehensive values of 150 species of plants in northern China were evaluated using this model. The results showed the following: (1) The model selected 16 representative and objective indicators as the sub-criteria level; (2) The results of the relative weights of the vector of criteria level to the focus level were as follows: Psychological Rehabilitation C1 (0.5537) > Physiological Rehabilitation C2 (0.2570) > Plant Scenery C3 (0.1893); (3) The comprehensive evaluation value results showed that the values of 86 plants were higher than the standard value that was suggested to be applied in HL for older adults in northern China. Of these plants, 55 species have superior values for application while 31 species have high values. The values of a further 64 plants were lower than the standard value, among which 41 species had a general application value, while 23 species should be selectively applied. (4) Using a questionnaire survey, the elderly participants expressed high preferences for the top 55 species of plants, and the favorite characteristics of the plants for the elderly included well-known traditional Chinese flowers with large and rich colors, as well as edible flowers. Factors that require consideration in planting designs, including the climatic conditions, the physiological and psychological characteristics of the elderly, cultural aspects of the plants, the relationship between the plant and five senses, and horticultural therapy activities, are discussed. This evaluation of HL plants provides a theoretical basis for plant selection in landscape design in nursing institutions.
... First, spending time in a garden involves some degree of physical activity, which promotes physical strength, fitness and flexibility, as well as offering additional psychological health benefits (Wang & MacMillan, 2013). Regular physical exercise contributes to healthy ageing (McPhee et al., 2016) and reduces the risk of a range of chronic diseases (Leskinen et al., 2018). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of people's lives. Lockdown measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been more stringent for those aged over 70, at highest risk for the disease. Here, we examine whether home garden usage is associated with self-reported mental and physical wellbeing in older adults, during COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland. This study analysed data from 171 individuals (mean age 84 ± 0.5 years) from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study who completed an online survey approximately two months after lockdown commenced (May/June, 2020), and reported having access to a home garden. The survey also included items on garden activities (gardening, relaxing), frequency of garden usage during lockdown, and measures of self-rated physical health, emotional and mental health, anxiety about COVID-19, and sleep quality. Ordinal regression models were adjusted for sex, living alone, education, occupational social class, anxiety and depressive symptoms, body mass index, and history of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Neither gardening nor relaxing in the garden were associated with health outcomes. However, higher frequency of garden usage during lockdown was associated with better self-rated physical health (P = 0.005), emotional and mental health (P = 0.04), sleep quality (P = 0.03), and a composite health score (P = 0.001), after adjusting for covariates. None of the garden measures were associated with perceived change in physical health, mental and emotional health, or sleep quality, from pre-lockdown levels. The results of the current study provide support for positive health benefits of spending time in a garden—though associations may be bidirectional—and suggest that domestic gardens could be a potential health resource during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... The results also complement previous systematic reviews on the health benefits of, for example, forest bathing (Hansen et al., 2017;Lee et al., 2017Lee et al., , 2009Lee et al., 2011), horticultural activities, gardening (Wang and MacMillan, 2013), and green exercise (Barton and Pretty, 2010;Twohig-Bennett and Jones, 2018). The term green exercise was used to describe the synergistic health benefits derived from being active in green or natural places (Pretty et al., 2005). ...
Article
There is an increasing evidence that natural environment provides substantial human health benefits. One mechanism underlying this relationship is the experience of stress. However, no formal statistical assessment has been conducted to test this statement. A meta-analysis was used in our study to conduct a comprehensive systematic review for the effect of direct exposure to natural environment on stress relieving. We searched four online databases and reference lists, 31 studies with a total of 1842 participants were included. Meta-analysis results showed increased natural exposure was associated with decreased salivary cortisol -0.06 (95% CI -0.08, -0.04), state-of anxiety -12.48 (95%CI -26.61, 1.66), self-reported stress -0.33 (95%CI -0.78, 0.13), systolic blood pressure (SBP) -3.82 (95%CI -6.77, -0.86), diastolic blood pressure (DBP) -2.21 (95%CI -3.93, -0.49), Ln(LF/HF) -0.29 (95%CI -0.41, -0.18) of heart rate variability (HRV) and increased restorative outcomes 4.82 (95%CI -1.87, 11.51). These measurements provide the most convincing evidence that exposure to the natural environment can lead to stress reduction, and ultimately improve health. However, there was significant residual heterogeneity between studies and risk of bias was high. It is a recommended that future research in this area take appropriate steps to reduce bias and improve quality in order to build a strong evidence-based medicine foundation. This will help to convince policymakers and health professionals of the stress relieving benefits of exposure to nature, and encourage to give due regard to create, maintain, and improve existing accessible greenspaces in insufficient areas.
Article
Background Gardening benefits health in older adults, but previous studies have limited generalizability or do not adequately adjust for socio-demographic factors or physical activity (PA). Objective We examined health outcomes, fruit and vegetables (F&V) intake, and 10-year mortality risk among gardeners and exercisers compared to non-exercisers. Design Cross-sectional data of non-institutionalized US adults in the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a landline and cellular phone survey. Participants/setting Adults aged 65+ reporting any PA (n=146,047) were grouped as gardeners, exercisers, or non-exercisers. Main outcome measures Outcomes included cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, mental and physical health, F&V intake, and 10-year mortality risk. Statistical analyses Summary statistics were calculated and adjusted logistic regression models were conducted to calculate odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), accounting for the complex survey design. Results The sample included 10.2% gardeners, 60.0% exercisers, and 30.8% non-exercisers. Gardeners, compared to non-exercisers, had significantly lower odds of reporting all studied health outcomes and higher odds of consuming >5 F&V/day (CVD aOR 0.60 [95% CI: 0.53-0.68], stroke aOR 0.55 [95% CI: 0.47-0.64], heart attack aOR 0.63 [95% CI: 0.55-0.73], high cholesterol aOR 0.86 [95% CI: 0.79-0.93], high blood pressure aOR 0.74 [95% CI: 0.68-0.81], diabetes aOR 0.51 [95% CI: 0.46-0.56], BMI >25 aOR 0.74 [95% CI: 0.68-0.80], poor mental health status aOR 0.50 [95% CI: 0.43-0.59], poor physical health status aOR 0.35 [95% CI: 0.31-0.39], >5 F&V per day aOR 1.56 [95% CI: 1.40-1.57], high 10-year mortality risk aOR 0.39 [95% CI: 0.36-0.42]). Male and female gardeners had significantly lower odds of reporting diabetes even when compared exercisers. Conclusion Among adults aged 65+, gardening is associated with better CVD health status including lower odds of diabetes. Future longitudinal or interventional studies are warranted to determine if promoting gardening activities can be a CVD risk reduction strategy.
Article
Ongoing confinement for millions of urban citizens due to the Covid-19 pandemic has raised ecological consciousness, changed food habits and questioned the relationship urban dwellers have with nature. There is more interest in bringing plants into urban homes and in sustainable food sources, but no research have studied the relationships between food behaviours and plant-care activities. To address this gap and explore urban citizens' nature relatedness through the greening of private areas, we conducted a national survey of French, young urban citizens (n = 1000), who are more committed to ‘edible’ cities than older generations but have the lowest rate of plant purchasers. A quantitative approach reveals the prevalence of aesthetic/hedonistic expectations for plants in private housing but also demonstrates contrasting perceptions of tasks for plant maintaining and unequal valuation of social issues around plants. We discuss continuities between environmental awareness, commitment to sustainable food and natural/social uses of plants and argue that urban planning processes should address potential synergies for more integrative resilience. Community building around green areas, urban agriculture or collective gardens, in cities, can have ripple effects towards the greening of private housing. Lastly, the multi-disciplinary approach bridging psychosociology and urban studies can inspire multi-scalar urban planning.
Article
The Expressive Terrarium is a new intervention tool in the field of ecological arts therapy. The terrarium is a glass bowl containing plants and other objects from nature, art materials, as well as miniature and found objects. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from a sample of students and administrative staff from the same college to better understand the experiential process for future use as a clinical intervention tool. The findings showed that both groups had high positive attitudes toward the terrarium experience. The qualitative data showed that the participants experienced feelings of enjoyment and a sense of calm while engaged in building and tending their terrariums. The terrarium was perceived as enabling self-expression and as a symbolic-narrative-oriented personal space. Thus, this preliminary mixed-method study suggests that the Expressive Terrarium could be implemented in individual and group therapy or as a community-based intervention in schools and academia.
Article
Background and objective: Mounting evidence suggests that nature-based recreation such as gardening can generate various mental and behavioral benefits. However, the benefits of gardening for older populations are largely unknown. This study aimed to assess how a seniors' gardening program affects older people's nature relatedness, psychological well-being, and intent to engage in pro-environmental behavior.Methods: We designed a one-group pretest-posttest study. Twelve seniors in their 60s and 70s participated in a gardening program occurring in a university botanical garden for 5 months. We used a 5-point Likert scale to measure the participants' nature relatedness, psychological well-being, and pro-environmental behavioral intentions at the beginning as well as the end of the program. We compared the pretest and posttest scores on each measure using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test for nature relatedness and paired t-tests for psychological well-being and behavioral intentions.Results: Our results indicated statistically significant increases in all three outcome variables after participation in the gardening program. The median score for nature relatedness was 4.167 after program participation compared to 3.500 before participation ( p < .05). Also, participants' psychological well-being mean score increased from 3.505 to 4.009 ( p < .01) while their intent to engage in pro-environmental behavior mean score increased from 4.115 to 4.427 ( p < .05).Conclusion: A seniors' gardening program can be an effective way for older people to connect with nature and improve their mental health. Also, gardening can foster the capacity of the elderly to help reduce human impacts on the environment.
Article
Urban green spaces and the biodiversity therein have been associated with human health and well-being benefits, but the contribution of domestic gardens to those benefits is insufficiently known. Using data from a cross-sectional sample (n = 587) of domestic garden owners in Flanders and Brussels (northern Belgium), associations between residential green space quality in and around domestic gardens, green space related activities and socioeconomic background variables of the gardeners, and self-reported health (stress and depression) were investigated with structural equation models. Socioeconomic security was associated with lower stress and depression. Nature relatedness and green space in the neighbourhood of the house were associated with higher exposure to green space, which was in turn negatively associated with stress and depression. Garden quality, indicated by biodiversity values and size, and nature relatedness were associated with being active in the garden, which was in turn associated with lower values of depression, but not stress. Nature relatedness seems to play a key role in the pathway linking gardens to improved health. Improving biodiversity and ecosystems services in gardens may increase exposure to green space and help to restore and enhance nature relatedness. This, in turn, could potentially improve human health and well-being, and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in urban environments.
Article
Designing for people’s health and well-being is one important purpose for landscape design in healthcare environments. The concept of therapeutic landscapes has been applied widely in various healthcare settings. This research extends the concept of therapeutic landscapes in ordinary everyday context and explores the role of gardens in Australian aged-care facilities. Fieldwork shows aged-care residents reclaim the outdoor environment by actively shaping the landscape to create special meanings and embed memories in characterising their current living space. Findings suggest broadening the current understandings of therapeutic landscapes to incorporate residents’ vernacular healing landscapes. This paper addresses a gap in existing literature and introduces the importance of vernacular healing landscapes in aged-care facilities for its holistic reflection of older people’s landscape experiences and connection with residents' memories, which positively contributes to their health and wellbeing. It argues for future design to value and incorporate residents' vernacular healing landscapes in aged-care gardens.
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Background: Aging societies are of public health concern worldwide. It is critical to develop strategies that harness technology to enhance older adults’ mental health. Methods: This study aimed to explore the effects of a combination of 3D virtual reality (VR) and hands-on horticultural activities on the mental health of community-dwelling older adults. The study used a quasi-experimental design. A total of 62 community-dwelling older adults were recruited and assigned to the experimental (n=32) and comparison groups (n=30). The members of the experimental group participated in an 8-week intervention program. Participants of both groups completed before-and-after intervention measurements for outcome variables that included perceived self-esteem, depression, isolation, mastery and achievement motives, which were analyzed using the generalized estimating equation (GEE). Results: GEE analyses indicated that the experimental group showed significant post intervention improvements in scores for self-esteem (β=1.66, P= .015), isolation (β=-0.96, P= .008), mastery (β=1.04, P= .042), and achievement motives (β=1.30, P=.034) compared to the control group. Conclusions: This study found beneficial effects of a combination of three-dimensional virtual reality and hands-on horticultural activities on community-dwelling older adults’ mental health. These findings suggest that future implementations of this program on a large scale could improve the mental health of older adults. Trial Registration: The study was posted in the www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT05087654) on 21/10/2021. It was approved by the Institutional Review Board of En Chu Kong Hospital and performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Article
Older adults with disabilities are very dependent on the physical environment, but evidence concerning outdoor activity-friendly environments is limited. This study developed the functioning and environment model to analyse the interactions among body functions and structures (physiological or psychological functions of body systems and anatomical parts of the body), outdoor environments, and outdoor activities in older adults with disabilities. Demographic and health surveys of older adults (N = 95), interviews with older adults (N = 95) and staff members (N = 28), and behavioural observations of older adults (N = 12) were conducted at a typical Chinese long-term care facility. Environmental needs were revealed by thematic analysis in five themes: natural environments with positive sensory stimuli, accessible and personalized gardening spaces, safe and comfortable walking environments, spaces and equipment for playful exercise, and gathering spaces mixing diverse people. The results showed that the outdoor environment could facilitate outdoor activities by compensating for impairments and utilizing remaining body functions and structures, which could further improve body functions and structures. This study enriches understanding of the relationship between functioning and the environment, providing a new perspective for interdisciplinary cooperation between medical and design fields on environments for healthy ageing.
Preprint
Can urban gardens contribute to food self-sufficiency in mountain areas at risk of food desertification at times of Covid-19? This paper tests the contribution of urban gardens cultivation to the food self-sufficiency of mountain municipalities at risk of food desertification at times of Covid-19. Mountain areas are at risk of food desertification. Due to depopulation, food sales facilities close or relocate to more populated and distant areas. As a result, the local population has increasing difficulties in accessing food, and is therefore vulnerable to social injustice. The restrictions imposed on personal mobility to reduce Covid-19 diffusion have aggravated these difficulties, especially for those living in a municipality without any food sales facilities. As a local form of self-fruit and vegetable production and an example of a short distance supply, urban gardens could provide a solution to support the food self-sufficiency of these municipalities. Starting from this, the article proposes a model to calculate the land requirement for food self-sufficiency, and the percentage covered by local agricultural areas and urban gardens municipally. This model is tested specifically for mountain municipalities which have experimented with the growth of the gardening initiatives in South Tyrol. The results demonstrate that urban gardens' contribution to local food self-sufficiency is almost irrelevant and less than 1% of the municipal needs. The agricultural areas contribute more than urban gardens to self-sufficiency, producing food for the about 50% of municipal needs. Data related to the contribution of urban gardens to the necessary land for fruit and vegetable production for self-sufficiency confirm the limited extent of their relevance.
Chapter
Leisure studies, leisure science and critical gerontology are the three main disciplinary fields that are synthesised and evaluated. Leisure constraints theory, with its roots in the 1960s outdoors recreation movement, offers ways of understanding why people do not do ‘what is good for them’. This selection of everyday leisure research suggests that some people are successfully negotiating all kinds of leisure in later life. There is a new cohort of healthy people in an extended later life in the twenty-first century in the UK who have grown up and grown older with ‘active ageing’. The changing demographics have ramped up the active ageing rhetoric, but it is not clear how they negotiate between the promises of affluent fun and the threat of illness and vulnerability. There is a lack of agreement about what constitutes active and passive activities and their potential for enhancing or endangering later lives.
Chapter
The great crisis facing our age is not a tsunami of resource hungry centenarians. It is the struggle to balance freedom and belonging, winning and love, doing and being, performing and relaxing, producing and consuming. For leisure to enable the construction of agentic stories, an element of subjective freedom is essential. Instrumental leisure saps the fun and freedom, makes it consequential. The labour of being an active ager makes paid work look more appealing by comparison and can cause conflict in families. Resisting or subverting active ageing messages provides a little fun for those who prefer to be naughty, and that is good to know. Passive leisure in later life offers direct fun, sociability and connection. People that have grown up and grown old in a culture of active ageing have more freedom when they choose home-based leisure, and socialise with people of their own age
Article
Objective Healthy eating behaviors are often developed early in life, yet nutrition is rarely emphasized in early childhood education. Integration of nutrition into academic content is warranted, still, its ability to positively impact teaching and learning has been understudied. Therefore, this study explored the feasibility of application in the classroom and the perceived usability of a nutrition-integrated pilot curriculum. Design Early childhood teachers’ perceptions of four nutrition-integrated lessons were explored through a qualitative research approach. Data were collected through pre- and post-focus groups, lesson observations, and teacher feedback. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis and supplemented with observations and lesson feedback. Setting This pilot study took place in Northwest Mississippi at three preschools which are part of the Mississippi Early Learning Collaborative. Participants A non-probability convenience sample was utilized to acquire participants. Ten early childhood teachers and 132 Pre-K4 students participated in the study. Results Three themes emerged and were categorized accordingly: (a) preconceived concern of the unknown versus experienced reality; (b) promoting buy-in and engagement through hands-on learning experiences; and (c) manifestation of perceived prioritization. Conclusions Nutrition-integrated lessons were reported to be creative, facilitate positive food behaviors, and highly engaging for teachers and children. Concerns for new and unfamiliar curriculum were noted but could be alleviated with more detailed instructions. Future nutrition-integrated curriculum efforts should include detailed video instructions and offer a gradual and flexible schedule allowing teacher autonomy in how to prioritize implementation.
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Objectives We developed the Adachi Rehabilitation Programme (ARP), a community rehabilitation program. Under the supervision of professional caregivers, older adults cleaned and planted flowers in the park and they walked and shopped in the community. We examined the effects of ARP on individuals receiving small-group multifunctional at-home care at community facilities. Methods This was a multi-centre controlled trial at thirteen small multifunctional at-home care facilities in Adachi, Tokyo. The primary outcomes of the study were daily step counts and timed up & go (TUG). Secondary outcomes included gait speed, step length, Barthel Index for Activities of Daily Living, Functional Independence Measure, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and EuroQOL 5 Dimension. Results Ninety-six individuals at thirteen small multifunctional at-home care facilities were recruited for participation in December 2017. They were allocated to intervention (38) and control (40) groups. The average daily step count of the control group decreased from 852 to 727, but it increased by approximately 650 steps, from 990 to 1635, for the intervention group. Average TUG decreased from 16.1 s to 14.0 s and MMSE score increased from 15.9 to 16.3 for the intervention group, but a significant interaction was not found. On non-intervention home days, the daily step counts of the intervention group increased significantly from 908 steps to 1485 steps, while those of the control group decreased from 865 steps to 722 steps. Conclusions ARP may have effectively increased the physical activity of older adults under long-term care by increasing motivation and changing behaviour.
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Article
A questionnaire based on the Life Satisfaction Inventory A (LSIA) was used to investigate older adult (age 50+ years) gardeners' and nongardeners' perceptions of personal life satisfaction and levels of physical activity. The LSIA measures five components of quality of life: "zest for life," "resolution and fortitude," "congruence between desired and achieved goals," "physical, psychological, and social self-concept," and "optimism." Additional multiplechoice questions were asked to determine respondents' level of physical activity, perceptions of overall health and well-being as well as to gather demographic information. The survey was posted on a university homepage for ≈1 month. Responses were gathered from 298 participants who differentiated themselves as gardeners or nongardeners by responding positively or negatively to the question "do you garden?" Results indicated statistically significant differences in comparisons of overall life satisfaction scores with gardeners receiving higher mean scores indicating more positive results on the LSIA. Four individual quality-of-life statements included in the LSIA yielded statistically significantly more positive answers by gardeners when compared with nongardeners. Other questions regarding healthful practices revealed that personal reports of physical activity and perceptions of personal health were statistically significantly more positive among gardeners when compared with nongardeners.
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Article
New dietary guidelines recommend eating more than five servings of fruit and vegetables each day without setting upper limitations. Although older adults tend to report a higher intake of fruit and vegetables than other age groups, over half of the U.S. older population does not meet the recommendation of five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Research has shown that gardening is one way of improving fruit and vegetable intake. The primary focuses of this study were to examine and compare fruit and vegetable consumption of gardeners and nongardeners and to investigate any differences in fruit and vegetable consumption of long-term gardeners when compared with newer gardeners in adults older than age 50 years. An online survey was designed to be answered by older adults (50 years or older) and respondents self-selected themselves for inclusion in the study. A total of 261 questionnaires was completed. Data collected were analyzed using statistical procedures, including descriptive statistics, Pearson's product-moment correlations, and multivariate analysis of variance. The results of this research supports previous studies that indicated gardeners were more likely to consume vegetables when compared with nongardeners. However, these results were not found with regard to fruit consumption between gardeners and nongardeners. Additionally, the length of time an individual reported having participated in gardening activities seemed to have no relationship to the number of vegetables and fruit reported as consumed, which suggests gardening intervention programs late in life would be an effective method of boosting vegetable and fruit consumption in older adults. Gender was also evaluated with no statistically significant differences found for overall fruit and vegetable intake.
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Article
This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the impact of indoor gardening on elderly residents of a low-income assisted living facility over a 4-week period. Mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness were pre-, post-, and post-post measured to evaluate whether a short-term introduction of indoor gardening that involved individual plant-care responsibility would improve these measures that are predictive of health and quality of life. Eighteen residents participated in four 2-hour interactive horticulture classes taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. Class members showed a significant increase in mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness. The results of this study indicate that a basic horticultural activity, as simple as learning how to maintain a houseplant and taking individual responsibility for one, can have a short-term positive impact on the quality of life and on primary indicators of future health outcomes of older adults residing in assisted living facilities.
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Article
Human Issues in Horticulture (HIH) is a relatively new aspect of horticulture research that focuses beyond traditional horticulture (the production, maintenance, and use of crops) to include understanding the humans who utilize the plants and the role that plants play in life quality. Quite simply, HIH is the study of the application of horticulture to all aspects of daily life.
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Horticultural therapy (HT) is used across the lifespan with individuals with a wide range of physical, social, and cognitive abilities. Older adults make up a large group of participants in horticultural activities. As the population of older adults grows, more adults face the risk of experiencing a dementing illness. Many families turn to institutional care programs, such as nursing homes and adult day service (ADS) programs, for assistance with the care of their relative with dementia. HT may be an appropriate activity to incorporate into dementia care activity programs, but formal evaluations of such programs are limited. The current study evaluated a 10-week HT program conducted with adults with dementia at an ADS program. Observations indicated that participants engaged in the horticultural activities for greater periods of time than the nonhorticultural activities. Participant affect during the horticultural and nonhorticultural activities was comparable. HT is appropriate for dementia care programs serving adults with a wide range of cognitive, physical, and social needs, and it should be considered as a viable alternative to more typical dementia care program activities.
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Article
Implementing generationally appropriate activities for persons with dementia is a challenging task. Horticulture therapy (HT) addresses this challenge through the use of plants to facilitate holistic outcomes. Utilizing the model of environmental press, the current study sought to analyse adult day service (ADS) participants' responses to HT as compared to traditional activities. HT activities were conducted once a week for a half an hour at four different ADS programs over the course of 9 weeks. Observational data were collected during HT and traditional ADS activities using a modified dementia care mapping (DCM) technique. Observers coded predominant behavioural and affectual responses for each participant. HT activities facilitated higher levels of productive engagement and positive affect and lower levels of non-engagement than did traditional ADS activities. Therefore, HT offers dementia-care staff a viable activity alternative that is well received by clients and inclusive of all interested persons, despite cognitive limitations.
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Article
Providing meaningful activities for persons with dementia in institutional care settings challenges many activity staff. Horticultural therapy (HT), is one approach to addressing this challenge. HT involves the use of plant materials to achieve measurable treatment goals with special populations. The current exploratory study investigated differential responses of persons with dementia to three types of HT activities: cooking, crafts, and planting. We conducted HT activities three times per week at an adult day service (ADS) program over a nine-week period. Observational data for each participant were collected during HT and more traditional ADS activities at five-minute intervals using a modified Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) technique. Predominant behavior and affect of each timeframe were recorded for participants. High levels of positive affect and engagement were observed during all of the categories of HT activities, but no significant differences were found between the three categories of HT activities. While levels of engagement in the presented HT and traditional activities were similar, the percentage of time spent doing nothing was lower during HT than traditional activities. Affect was more positive during HT than traditional activities. The current study lends support to the value of HT activities for participants with dementia regardless of the HT modality employed.
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Article
This pilot pre- and post-test study sought to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of horticulture therapy and the perceived meaning and outcome on well being of a structured gardening intervention on two groups of elders in two culturally diverse settings. The total sample of 24 volunteers (age range 63-90) participated in a three month gardening project. The personal meaning framework and the instrumentation developed based on that framework was utilized (Reker, Peacock, & Wong, 1987; Reker & Wong, 1988, 1984). Paired t-tests demonstrated a significant improvement in psychological well being (p < .000). Content analysis of a semi-structured interview elicited the meaning of gardening. Themes that emerged included Legacy of Gardening, Gardening as Spiritual Healing and Therapy, and Remembering a Favorite Tree. The results of this study suggest that the psychological and spiritual benefits of gardening for older adults transcend socioeconomic, educational and cultural boundaries and is a cost-effective therapeutic option.
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Article
Gardening is a moderate intensity physical activity for older adults. Thus, health benefits are possible, however, body positions while gardening, such as stooping, kneeling, and squatting, may be uncomfortable. The purpose of this study was to characterize both the type of gardening tasks done by older adults and their body positions while performing the tasks so that safe and effective gardening programs for elders could be designed. In this study, 14 older gardeners were observed on two separate occasions and the types of gardening tasks and body positions used during gardening were recorded. Bodily pain during gardening by the older gardeners was self-reported. Seventeen different garden tasks were observed. While conducting these tasks, six body positions were used by 90% of the subjects: gripping, bending, walking, lifting, stretching, and standing. Ten different bodily pains were reported with lower back pain reported the most. These results show that older gardeners use body positions during gardening that can provide both health benefits and risks. Biomechanical characterization of gardening through kinematics and kinetics is needed.
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Article
Engaging persons with dementia in meaningful activities supports well-being; however, care staff are challenged to implement age- and ability-appropriate activities in a group setting. We compared a randomly assigned treatment group, who received horticultural therapy-based (HT-based) programming to a comparison group, who engaged in traditional activities (TA) programming, on engagement and affect. Horticultural therapy-based programming was implemented twice weekly at 4 treatment sites for 6 weeks, while regular TA were observed at comparison sites. Results revealed no differences between groups on affective domains. Levels of adaptive behavior differed between the groups, with the treatment group demonstrating higher levels of active, passive, and other engagement and the comparison group demonstrating higher levels of self-engagement. Our results highlight the value of HT-based programs and the importance of simultaneously capturing participants' affective and behavioral responses. Theoretical and practical considerations about the facilitation of and context in which the programming occurs are discussed.
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Article
The potential contribution of allotment gardens to a healthy and active life-style is increasingly recognized, especially for elderly populations. However, few studies have empirically examined beneficial effects of allotment gardening. In the present study the health, well-being and physical activity of older and younger allotment gardeners was compared to that of controls without an allotment. A survey was conducted among 121 members of 12 allotment sites in the Netherlands and a control group of 63 respondents without an allotment garden living next to the home addresses of allotment gardeners. The survey included five self-reported health measures (perceived general health, acute health complaints, physical constraints, chronic illnesses, and consultations with GP), four self-reported well-being measures (stress, life satisfaction, loneliness, and social contacts with friends) and one measure assessing self-reported levels of physical activity in summer. Respondents were divided into a younger and older group at the median of 62 years which equals the average retirement age in the Netherlands. After adjusting for income, education level, gender, stressful life events, physical activity in winter, and access to a garden at home as covariates, both younger and older allotment gardeners reported higher levels of physical activity during the summer than neighbors in corresponding age categories. The impacts of allotment gardening on health and well-being were moderated by age. Allotment gardeners of 62 years and older scored significantly or marginally better on all measures of health and well-being than neighbors in the same age category. Health and well-being of younger allotment gardeners did not differ from younger neighbors. The greater health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening for older gardeners may be related to the finding that older allotment gardeners were more oriented towards gardening and being active, and less towards passive relaxation. These findings are consistent with the notion that having an allotment garden may promote an active life-style and contribute to healthy aging. However, the findings may be limited by self selection and additional research is needed to confirm and extend the current findings.
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Article
One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 is improved cognitive status of older adults. Preliminary research has identified gardening as an activity that may be cognitively protective. Clarification of gardening as a concept is a first step toward the development of theory that will enable nurses to develop interventions related to gardening. The purpose of this study was to describe the phenomenon of gardening. Using a phenomenological methodology, interviews with five older women were analyzed using Colaizzi's approach. Four themes emerged: "Gardening is challenge and work," "Gardening is connection," "Gardening is continuous learning," and "Gardening is sensory and aesthetic experience." The phenomenon of gardening is analogous to the relationship between a spider and its web, linking internal and external environments and providing support over a lifetime. It appears that the gardening experience, as an evolving lifelong process, sustains older women in their cognitive and spiritual development.
Article
This study investigated the effects of indoor horticulture activities on the current psychological well-being of older people in two longterm care facilities over a 7-week period. Thirty-one participants at one facility served as the control group. Thirty-one participants at another facility served as the horticulture group. Participants in both facilities continued with their normal daily routine and activities over the 7-week period; however, the horticulture group participated in a 1-hour horticulture activity session once a week over the 7-week period and the control group did not. The control group and horticulture group did not differ significantly in psychological well-being prior to the start of the study. After the 7-week program, the horticulture group had a significant increase in psychological well-being, whereas the control group had a slight decrease in psychological well-being. The results of this study indicate that horticulture activities may have a beneficial effect on the current psychological well-being of older people in a long-term care facility.
Conference Paper
Amateur gardening is one of the most popular leisure activities for elderly people in Japan. This report examined the daily horticultural activity (HA) and the health related quality of life (HRQOL) scores of elderly adults. We made a questionnaire, which included 12 questions in reference to daily HA. In order to determine HRQOL, we employed a 36 item short-form health survey (SF36), which is a self-administered questionnaire and generic measure of health status. SF36 consists of eight domains; physical functioning, physical role, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, emotional role, and mental health. Physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) of the HRQOL domains were calculated. Elderly adults in a school of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, answered the questionnaire and SF36 in December 2003. Among 508 recovered questionnaires, we analyzed 466 complete data (285 males, mean age=65.7; 181 females, mean age=64.6). According to the questionnaire, 49% of the respondents performed daily HA for about 30 min and 23% of them did that for about 1h. More than 75 and 50% of the respondents liked outdoor and indoor HA, respectively. About 75% of the adults decorated their rooms with cut flowers and ornamental foliage plants. More than 70% of the adults found life worth living in HA. HRQOL scores of the elderly adults in this research were significantly higher than the national average (50) in all eight domains, PCS and MCS. Especially, the mean scores of physical functioning and vitality were 54.5 and 55.2, respectively. Daily hours for HA significantly correlated with HRQOL scores of vitality (p=0.007), mental health (p=0.019) and MCS (p=0.005), respectively. Preference for outdoor HA correlated with the scores of physical functioning (p=0.02), general health (p=0.007) and vitality (p=0.019). Roles of daily HA in HRQOL for elderly adults were discussed.
Article
The objective of this study was to compare the physical and psychological health conditions and leisure-time activities, particularly physical activities (PAs), of older gardeners and nongardeners. Fifty-three older adults were recruited from the community of Manhattan, KS. Three groups were classified based on results from the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors questionnaire: active gardeners (n = 11) classified as gardeners that met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) PA recommendation through gardening; gardeners (n = 14) classified as gardeners that did not meet the CDC's PA recommendation through gardening; and nongardeners (n = 28). Overall physical and mental health conditions were determined with the Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), hand function (hand strength and pinch force) was determined by dynamometers, and bone mineral density (BMD) was determined by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Active gardeners were significantly different from gardeners and nongardeners in physical health (P < 0.05) on SF-36. There were no differences in mental health among the three groups, but all groups had scores higher than the U.S. general population. Active gardeners + gardeners had greater hand strength and pinch force than nongardeners. There was no difference in BMD among the groups, but all subjects had higher scores than the standard BMD value for their age. The only significant difference of caloric expenditure in leisure-time PAs among the groups was gardening (P < 0.001). In conclusion, gardening can be a useful strategy to meet the CDC's PA recommendation. In addition to the health benefits linked to regular PA, this study showed that gardening promotes hand strength, pinch force, and overall physical health.
Article
Theobjectiveof thisstudywas tocomparethephysicalandpsychological health conditions and leisure-time activities, particularly physical activities (PAs), of older gardenersandnongardeners.Fifty-threeolderadultswererecruitedfromthecommunity of Manhattan, KS. Three groups were classified based on results from the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors questionnaire: active gardeners (n = 11) classified as gardeners that met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) PA recommendation through gardening; gardeners (n = 14) classified as gardeners that did not meet the CDC's PA recommendation through gardening; and nongardeners (n = 28). Overall physicaland mental health conditions were determined withthe Short-Form 36Health Survey(SF-36), handfunction(hand strength andpinch force) wasdetermined by dynamometers, and bone mineral density (BMD) was determined by dual-energy x- ray absorptiometry. Active gardeners were significantly different from gardeners and nongardenersin physical health(P #0.05)on SF-36.There were nodifferences inmental health among the three groups, but all groups had scores higher than the U.S. general population. Active gardeners + gardeners had greater hand strength and pinch force than nongardeners. There was no difference in BMD among the groups, but all subjects had higher scores than the standard BMD value for their age. The only significant difference of caloric expenditure in leisure-time PAs among the groups was gardening (P < 0.001). In conclusion, gardening can be a useful strategy to meet the CDC's PA recommendation. In addition to the health benefits linked to regular PA, this study showed that gardening promotes hand strength, pinch force, and overall physical health.
Book
This book aims to make familiar current methods and standards for research synthesis. It describes systematic reviews and meta-analyses, with numerous examples relevant to social work practice and policy. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis can overcome important limitations that are inherent in traditional, narrative summaries of research. The process of conducting a systematic review is described. The book is organized according to the steps involved in conducting a meta-analysis within a systematic review. Available from the publisher and other booksellers.
Article
The paper sheds light on why older gardeners want to grow their own food and younger people do not. Only since the coming of democracy in 1994 has the potential of food gardens attracted the attention of South African development practitioners and policy makers. Sustainable food garden projects build on a culture of gardening that has its roots in rural subsistence farming. While food gardens were commonly regarded as a tool for rural development, rapid migration to the cities has introduced urban cultivation as a strategy to provide food and income security for the urban poor. This case study reports in-depth discussions with twenty active older gardeners in a small town in the predominantly rural Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The highly motivated gardeners cited reasons for growing food that went beyond basic needs for food security and livelihoods and included aesthetics, morality, and health and well-being. However, they attributed mainly negative attitudes to the younger generation that aspires to a modern lifestyle which excludes food gardening. Follow-up group interviews with young people confirmed these attributions. The discussion focuses on intergenerational transmission of values and its implications for sustainable community development.
Article
Specified, discrete behaviors (verbal and nonverbal, academic and social) of youth and elders in an intergenerational horticultural program were observed and recorded for a 12-week period. The behaviors were modified from a set of behaviors designated for standardized observations in the “Generations Together” program developed and managed by Dr. Sally Newman of the University of Pittsburgh. The youth, ages nine to 11 years, come from public and parochial schools for an after school program. The elders are volunteers from a neighborhood center congregate program. Pairings were made at the beginning of the study period and were maintained through the study. The horticultural and horticultural craft curriculum was designed by the registered horticultural therapists on staff at the Cleveland Botanical Garden with Nancy Stevenson, HTR. Observations were conducted by Jack Kerrigan, Extension Agent, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County and Nancy C. Stevenson, HTR. Behavioral observation data were compiled and analyzed by the “Generations Together” program.
Article
The purpose of this study was to profile older adults who garden for pleasure and to analyze whether gardeners could be segmented into specific types based on their motivations for gardening. A mail survey which included the Leisure Motivation Scale (Beard & Ragheb, 1983) and socio-demographic and health-related questions was sent to all 499 volunteers-303 responded with usable data. The results indicated seven motivational factors for gardening: (1) intellectual, (2) stimulus-avoidance, (3) friendship building, (4) social interaction, (5) physical fitness, (6) skill-development, and (7) creativity. Significant differences among marital status, education and health status were found. Implications for recreation therapists, activity professionals, and leisure service providers are provided.
Article
Background - The potential contribution of allotment gardens to a healthy and active life-style is increasingly recognized, especially for elderly populations. However, few studies have empirically examined beneficial effects of allotment gardening. In the present study the health, well-being and physical activity of older and younger allotment gardeners was compared to that of controls without an allotment. Methods - A survey was conducted among 121 members of 12 allotment sites in the Netherlands and a control group of 63 respondents without an allotment garden living next to the home addresses of allotment gardeners. The survey included five self-reported health measures (perceived general health, acute health complaints, physical constraints, chronic illnesses, and consultations with GP), four self-reported well-being measures (stress, life satisfaction, loneliness, and social contacts with friends) and one measure assessing self-reported levels of physical activity in summer. Respondents were divided into a younger and older group at the median of 62 years which equals the average retirement age in the Netherlands. Results - After adjusting for income, education level, gender, stressful life events, physical activity in winter, and access to a garden at home as covariates, both younger and older allotment gardeners reported higher levels of physical activity during the summer than neighbors in corresponding age categories. The impacts of allotment gardening on health and well-being were moderated by age. Allotment gardeners of 62 years and older scored significantly or marginally better on all measures of health and well-being than neighbors in the same age category. Health and well-being of younger allotment gardeners did not differ from younger neighbors. The greater health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening for older gardeners may be related to the finding that older allotment gardeners were more oriented towards gardening and being active, and less towards passive relaxation. Conclusions - These findings are consistent with the notion that having an allotment garden may promote an active life-style and contribute to healthy aging. However, the findings may be limited by self selection and additional research is needed to confirm and extend the current findings
Article
Thesis (M.S.)--Kansas State University, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 21-23).
Article
This project investigated the effect of a new recreational activity on the generally low level of engagement of residents in two lounges of a Local Authority home for the elderly physically frail. Indoor gardening sessions open to all residents were held on one afternoon each week in the dining room of the home. In the setting-up phase a researcher ran the gardening sessions, developed a set of written instructions on how to organize the activity and used these. plus performance feedback, to train a volunteer to run the sessions. The experimental phase evaluated the residents' level of engagement during the weekly gardening sessions and on another afternoon each week when there were no planned recreational activities. The results show that indoor gardening was very successful in producing sustained activity by the residents attending and that engagement of the residents was significantly higher on gardening than on non-gardening days.
Article
Twenty community garden programs in upstate New York (representing 63 gardens) were surveyed to identify characteristics that may be useful to facilitate neighborhood development and health promotion. The most commonly expressed reasons for participating in gardens were access to fresh foods, to enjoy nature, and health benefits. Gardens in low-income neighborhoods (46%) were four times as likely as non low-income gardens to lead to other issues in the neighborhood being addressed; reportedly due to organizing facilitated through the community gardens. Additional research on community gardening can improve our understanding of the interaction of social and physical environments and community health, and effective strategies for empowerment, development, and health promotion.
Article
This study examined the effects of indoor gardening on socialization, activities of daily living (ADLs), and perceptions of loneliness in elderly nursing home residents. A total of 66 residents from two nursing homes participated in this two-phase study. In phase one, experimental group 1 participated once a week for 5 weeks in gardening activities while a control group received a 20-minute visit. While no significant differences were found between groups in socialization or perceptions of loneliness, there were significant pretest-posttest differences within groups on loneliness and guidance, reassurance of worth, social integration, and reliable alliance. The results also demonstrated gardening interventions had a significant effect on three ADLs (transfer, eating, and toileting). Phase two examined differences in the effects of a 5-week versus a 2-week intervention program. Although no significant within-group differences were noted in socialization, loneliness, or ADLs, the 5-week program was more effective in increasing socialization and physical functioning.
Article
A pilot study was performed to examine the efficacy of indoor gardening on sleep, agitation and cognition of dementia patients. Twenty-three institutionalized dementia patients who had sleep disturbance and/or agitation participated in a 5-week study protocol of 1 week of baseline and 4 weeks of treatment. The study design was a one group repeated measures study. For the first and fifth week of the study period, sleep patterns, agitation, and cognition were evaluated using a sleep diary, Modified Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory and revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale respectively. Significant improvement in wake after sleep onset, nap, nocturnal sleep time, and nocturnal sleep efficiency was identified. On the contrary sleep onset time, wake-up time, total sleep time did not change after indoor gardening. Agitation and cognition score was significantly improved. Indoor gardening was found to be effective for sleep, agitation, and cognition of dementia patients. Randomized controlled studies of larger sample size are needed to confirm treatment effect.
Community gardening in a senior center: A therapeutic intervention to improve the health of older adults
  • E Austin
  • Y Johnston
  • L Morgan
Effect of horticultural therapy on preventing the decline of mental abilities of patients with Alzheimer's type dementia
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  • S J Batavia
  • M Sasson
Horticultural therapy for institutionalized older adults and persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias: A study and practice
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