The Landing of Southampton offers a refreshing approach to memory care that cares for each resident’s physical, mental, emotional, and social health. Our community events are individually focused, allowing our memory care residents to express their wants and desires in a healthy and productive way. One way we engage our memory care residents is through horticulture therapy. Take a closer look at Opal by Leisure Care, our signature memory care program, and how horticulture therapy benefits our residents.
Benefits of Horticulture Therapy for People with Dementia
Opal by Leisure Care is our signature memory care program. More than meeting just the physical needs of our memory care residents, Opal goes above and beyond to engage residents with Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia socially, emotionally, and mentally. The horticulture therapy program at The Landing of Southampton memory care is one of several programs for residents that engage the mind, body, and soul.
Studies have shown that horticulture therapy can uniquely benefit people living with dementia in these five ways:
1. Horticulture therapy can encourage sensory stimulation.
As dementia progresses, all the senses are negatively affected, but gardening can awaken some, if not all, of the senses. From touching the dirt and smelling and seeing the flowers to tasting the garden vegetables and listening to the sounds of nature, gardening is a vibrant activity that can engage people in the early to mid-stages of dementia.
2. Gardening has been shown to improve attention span.
Dementia worsens not only memory but also attention span. Over time, gardening and horticulture therapy can streamline focus and increase concentration. Giving our residents one task at a time, allowing them to get their hands dirty, plant blooms, and harvest vegetables, can result in increased attention span that can transfer to other activities, such as puzzles or reading a book.
3. Working with your hands in the garden can increase strength and balance.
It may be surprising to think of gardening as physical activity, but it can improve strength, flexibility, and balance. At The Landing of Southampton, we consider every resident’s physical ability when planning our activities while seizing every opportunity to increase strength. Digging, preparing the soil, trimming plants, and harvesting flowers or vegetables are great ways for our memory care residents to exercise their green thumbs.
4. Horticulture therapy provides a sense of purpose.
There’s no question that the symptoms of dementia can cause loneliness and frustration that can decrease the quality of life. That’s where Opal enters and provides creative and intentional outlets that offer a sense of purpose for people with dementia. When a memory care resident knows they are responsible for growing food for meals or adding to the beauty of our community, they feel an increased sense of purpose that contributes to overall well-being.
5. As a social activity, gardening helps people with dementia engage with others.
Our horticulture program provides social engagement for people with dementia. Working with others to achieve a common goal unifies our residents and helps them avoid the dangers of social isolation while developing skills, finding purpose, and living intentionally.
Finding Purpose at The Landing of Southampton
Most recently, our memory care residents made herbal stress relief balls in horticulture therapy. These stress balls engage the residents’ senses through smell, touch, and sight while also helping to relieve the stress and frustration that many residents with dementia feel.
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