Gardening is a beautiful way to stay healthy. In the early days of Americans, gardening was a way of life for most. It was commonplace in an Agrarian society for people to grow gardens to sustain large families. There were no grocery stores on every corner. The accessibility to food, that is commonplace for modern society, looked much different a century ago. For many in senior care, being able to grow sustainable food sources as well as ornate flowers is a beneficial therapy that yields positive results.
According to a study by the Journal of Preventive Medicine Reports, growing plants improves mood, lowers anxiety, and increases wellness. Maintaining a garden, or even caring for a single plant, gives one a sense of control. The Alzheimer’s Society’s Garden guide says that nurturing plants helps maintain existing skills that provide pleasure and confidence at a time when memory loss or physical decline can affect people’s self-esteem.
Gardening may also decrease loneliness. According to a study of nursing home residents in Hong Kong published by the Journal of Clinical Nursing, researchers found a significant drop in loneliness among adults in their 80’s who participated in an eight-week indoor gardening program compared with their peers who did not garden.
Indoor gardening for dementia patients provides sensory and cognitive stimulation that improves the quality of life for many. Including a variety of plants and flowers provides the opportunity for these patients to reminisce, as well. Caring for these gardens gives the dementia patient a sense of responsibility and control at a time when most day-to-day tasks are difficult to maintain.
Caring is an accomplishment.
Caring for plants is especially good for seniors who have been caregivers their entire lives and are now experiencing role reversal and need a sense of purpose. Nurturing plants provides similar satisfaction to caring for another human and is a great way to maintain the physical and emotional benefits of nurturing, according to research compiled by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Lifetime Wellness Ltd provides our partnerships with resources and staff that will assist in growing vegetable and flower gardens. Many of our partnerships are using gardening to enhance the lives of seniors. Seniors can care for and nurture outdoor and indoor gardening spaces while enjoying the home-grown food sources that it provides. Cooking the food that is harvested can be done through our Chef works resources provided in our monthly resource packets. Gardening is a wellness opportunity that provides a sense of purpose while strengthening the body and mind.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Lifetime Wellness will be actively campaigning throughout our partnerships to promote positive ways to handle stress. Life can be very stressful! Anxiety, depression, and mental health issues are increasing daily for many of all ages and walks of life. Life since the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have made everyday life a bit more complicated.
Life for senior adults can become full of worry and fret. There are many factors that can contribute to this. Complex health issues, loss of a loved one, financial issues, being a caregiver, living alone, and where to spend retirement years are all factors that can increase stress. There are many ways to treat the symptoms and causes of stress. Recognizing symptoms of stress are important.
According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, there are common signs and symptoms to become aware of.
According to Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, “if these signs go untreated there can be a significant increase in cardiovascular issues. It can also increase insulin resistance in diabetics while increasing hypertensive episodes as well as insomnia.” There is so much at stake if these symptoms remain untreated. Thankfully, there are many methods to improve responses to stress. In an older population, these symptoms can easily mask other complicated health issues. Being aware of these symptoms of stress can help caregivers response to elevated stress levels in seniors.
There are many ways to combat stress in senior care. A recent post by the Harvard Special Health Report gives much needed direction to combat the complications of stress and improve quality of life and decrease the effects of stress.
General stress in adults may be reduced with some of the following ideas, as reported in the Harvard Special Health Report Stress Management:
- Engage in regular physical activity. If you are infirm, ask your doctor whether you might benefit from certain types of exercise, such as tai chi, which enhances balance. Many other kinds of physical activity improve your health, lift your mood, and reduce stress, too.
- Consider whether you might benefit from a course in assertiveness training that would help you state your wishes and handle conflicts.
- Join a support group if you are dealing with bereavement.
- Think about getting a pet—both the pluses and minuses. Several studies support the stress-lowering effects of having a dog, cat, or other animal companion. But don’t forget to take into consideration the physical and financial challenges of pet ownership.
- Attend a mind-body program. These can help at any age. Some are specifically designed for seniors. Others may focus on chronic pain or specific ailments, such as heart disease.
There are many ways that our partnerships address the concerns of elevated stress. There are non pharmacological approaches such as aromatherapy, massage, and relaxation rooms. These have proven to be beneficial and enhance overall quality of life for seniors.
Throughout the six dimensions of wellness, Lifetime Wellness, Ltd. provides everyday programs that decrease stress. Body works, Chef works, and Mind Works, are just a few of the offerings our clients can take advantage of. This programming addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of seniors. Our partnerships benefit from gold standard activity programming as well as professional staff management.
Celebrate stress awareness month by taking advantage of opportunities to maintain proper self-care. Senior care thrives when stress lowering offerings are implemented. Life can be difficult, but there are creative solutions to manage the stress and improve the quality of life for seniors.