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The Benefits of Gardening For People With Memory Impairment

April is National Gardening Month, signalling the start of sunnier days, warmer weather, and new opportunities to get outside. Gardening, whether indoors or out, is a rewarding endeavor that not only encourages physical activity and motor function, but provides an opportunity to connect socially, especially for those living with memory impairment. 

If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, here are just a few reasons to explore gardening together:

Focusing on Health

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, gardening can offer many health benefits including increased dexterity, problem-solving, endurance, and sensory awareness. Engaging these critical functions on a regular basis can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Sifting soil, pruning branches, and watering a garden can offer different types of sensory stimulation through touch, sight, and scent. 

Creating connections with plants can also improve your loved one’s attention span and mental focus if they are invested in the health of their garden. Simple activities like watering the soil regularly can offer them a routine to practice problem solving. Nurturing a garden can also present meditative moments for reflection and calmness, lowering blood pressure and increasing oxygen intake.

Social Interactions

Gardening can be an independent activity or an opportunity to socialize with your loved one experiencing memory loss. Talking casually to each other while participating in a hands-on activity can remove some of the pressure of holding a conversation. A lull in conversation isn’t a loss of connection, but rather a shared moment of peace. Use these quiet moments to be present with one another without filling the air with words.

Environmental Benefits

Caring for plants indoors is a simple way to brighten up your loved one’s living space. An indoor garden can create a more inviting atmosphere which may have a calming effect on mood fluctuations and stress levels. Additionally, plants in the home release more oxygen, improving air quality.

Plants can also be interpreted as a symbol of changing seasons. Indoor plants can brighten your loved one’s days during the dark winter months. Welcome the advent of spring and create opportunities throughout the year by engaging in gardening activities you can share together.

Willow River is Here to Help

If you are ready to speak to a professional, Willow River can help answer your questions and provide the resources you’re looking for. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 to start the conversation today.