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What Is the Evidence to

Support the Use of

Therapeutic Gardens for
the Elderly?

Authors: Mark B. Detweiler, Taral Sharma, Jonna G.

Detweiler, Pamela F. Murphy, Sandra Lane, Jack
Carman, Amara S. Chudhary, Mary H. Halling, and
Kye Y. Kim

Publishing Journal: Psychiatry investigation 2012

Jun; 9(2): 100–110.

By: Oluwakemi Akomolafe


– Horticulture therapy employs plants and gardening activities in therapeutic and

rehabilitation activities that has been used throughout the years to help out the
elderly population.
– Horticulture has been proven throughout centuries to help alleviate pain.
– Horticulture also shows several benefits that can useful towards the aging
process of the U.S and North Korean population.
– It also shows improvement in attention, lessening of stress, modulation of
agitation, lowering of as needed medications, antipsychotics and reduction of

– The main goal of this article is to further analyze the positive effects of natural
settings using horticulture for the long term care and rehabilitation of the
elderly having medical and mental health problems frequently occurring with
– Elderly patients in a nursing home or rehabilitation center from ages 40-70
years of age.

– Using horticulture and gardening to help with patients and retired veterans
suffering from dementia

– Reduction of pain -Therapeutic gardens in residences for the elderly may reduce
pain perception.
– Improvement in attention - Many patients in horticulture or rehabilitation
therapy have attention deficits due to either internal or external negative
stimuli secondary to clinical entities such as pain, post-stroke sequelae, head
trauma, anxiety, depression or dementia.
– The brain's physiological response to stress -The brain is the central organ in
determining the best response to a level of danger, thus initiating appropriate

– Scientist has proven that HT and being exposed to gardening has reaped a lot of
positive benefits for the elderly. Indoor gardening has been reported to be
effective for improving sleep, agitation, and cognition in dementia patients. As a
cognitive therapy, HT helps clients learn new skills and regain lost skills they
might have lost over the years

– Preliminary studies have reported the benefits of horticultural therapy and

garden settings in reduction of pain, improvement in attention, lessening of
stress, modulation of agitation, lowering of PRN medications and antipsychotics
and also the reduction of falls. All of these benefits help in improving the quality
of life and possibly reducing costs for long-term, assisted living and dementia
unit residents.

– Dementia patients may continue to show frustration and agitation with the
gardens being locked.
– Bad weather can cause the patients to result in a series of mood swings.
– There is a higher probability of having wheelchairs and merry walkers slide off
the paths to become stuck in the mud or grass after inclement weather.
– This bad weather will also lead for more work for the nurses to do and it may be
considered a barrier for garden use.
Personal Critque

– Horticulture has being around for a long time why is it that it is not a common
use for therapeutic rehabilitation not only for the elderly, but for all age groups?
– What are some of the benefits do you think people with mental illness stand to
gain from participating in horticulture and do you see yourself or anyone in your
family in the future using this as therapeutic modality why or why not?

– Home. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2018, from

Robertson, T., & Long, T. (2008). Foundation of Therapeutic Recreation.

– KoreaMed. (2012). What Is the Evidence to Support the Use of Therapeutic

Gardens for the Elderly?, 9(100), 110th ser. doi:10.3335/koreamed