HOW GARDENING CAN HELP WITH ALZHEIMER’S
All of us know this horrible disease. All of us know that there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s. Many of us have experienced loved ones and friends who have suffered from the effects of Alzheimer’s. The founder of Meadows Farms, Bill Meadows, who was the father of the president and owner of The Great Big Greenhouse, Jay Meadows, passed away over five years ago after dealing with this disease. On a more personal level, my mother passed away twenty years ago because of Alzheimer’s. It is a sad and horrible disease.
I’m a “senior” citizen now. I like being a baby boomer. When I was young and growing up gardening and plants were incredibly important and a constant feature in my life. For me, gardening was a family affair. Now, I find being here at work, at home with my different gardens, and with my houseplants to be an important activity in my everyday life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world right now.
YES, GARDENING IS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER’S
As we enter April, many people are enjoying the opportunity to get back into gardening. Gardening and being around plants is a proven activity that helps to reduce stress while promoting a sense of peace, harmony, and happiness. Gardening helps to improve both your mental health and your physical health by keeping active. For people who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, the benefits of gardening and being around plants are even greater.
The activity of having a shovel or a trowel in hand, touching leaves, smelling the flowers, and getting hands dirty can help reduce agitation and anxiety. Being outside and in the garden can be a great time whereby family members and friends come together and relax and enjoy one another’s company.
A PERSONAL STORY
Here is a true personal story that I want to share. Last year a long-time gardening friend of mine came into The Great Big Greenhouse. John loves his plants and gardening. I had not seen John in a couple of years, thinking that maybe he and his wife moved away from the area. I had no idea that he was now in a daycare facility dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The facility arranged a field trip to The Great Big Greenhouse. John was in the group. We saw one another. It was so good to see him again. He called me by my first name. We talked about plants. The nurses were shocked as to how he was speaking with me. We took time to remanence about gardening. He would smile and laugh. The nurses had not seen John act so “normal” in months. This is my personal experience as to how plants can inspire “normalcy” in people dealing with Alzheimer’s.
I may have said this before but gardening is one of the most active things people do. A recent Alzheimer’s survey showed that visiting garden centers were one of the top five activities that people affected by dementia wanted to continue to do.
HERE IS WHAT GARDENING MEAN FOR PEOPLE DEALING WITH ALZHEIMER’S
- Being involved with gardening and plants provide physical and mental exercise and activity.
- If space is limited or if your loved one has mobility issues, consider planting your garden in containers or raised beds.
- Wandering can be a safety issue with people dealing with Alzheimer’s. You can lower the risk by creating garden paths that form a circle.
- Being outside in the sunlight allows everyone to produce Vitamin D, which is important to keep bones healthy.
- Being around plants, flowers, herbs, and more provides a multisensory stimulation. Just the sheer nature of connecting with nature will provide calmness and help lower blood pressure.
- Gardening will help relieve tension and frustration.
- Gardening can help alleviate the feeling of helplessness and always being dependent on others to do everything.
WE NEED TO FIND A CURE!!!
THIS SATURDAY IS ALZHEIMER’S DAY AT THE GREAT BIG GREENHOUSE & MEADOWS FARMS NURSERIES. THE PURPOSE OF THIS DAY IS TO HELP BRING MORE AWARENESS TO THIS DREADFUL DISEASE. WE WANT YOUR HELP!!!
WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A CAMPAIGN.
THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 9 – COME TO THE GARDEN CENTER AND JOIN US TO FIGHT ALZHEIMER’S. MAKE A DONATION TO THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION AT OUR REGISTERS. WITH THIS DONATION WE ARE OFFERING YOU 10% OFF ALL PLANTS!
OUR VISION IS A WORLD WITHOUT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.