Happiness is something we all strive for, and it can be defined in many ways. For many, happiness is enjoying quiet time alone with a good book. For others, it’s dancing or exercising and for some, it can be just listening to music. For a good majority of us, happiness means being with others; a single companion, our entire family, or a group of friends. Building memories and bonding with people can fill the heart with so much happiness and mealtime or holiday gatherings are often at the center of these moments. This quote reflects just that. “The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table.” – @therandomvibes
Having an amazing dining experience can help happiness grow from the inside out and can also help prevent Malnutrition too! When you enjoy your experience, you take your time to savor your meal and your time with your friends. You can add to the experience, by growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables. There is something about planting seeds and helping them grow that brings joy to oneself. The added benefits of the abundant fruits and vegetables packed with nutrients enhance our health and well-being.
When you harvest fresh ingredients from your own garden, you get the added benefit of horticulture therapy. According to the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Due to a rapidly aging population in the world, it is increasingly pertinent to promote successful aging strategies which are cost-effective, easily accessible, and more likely to be acceptable to the elderly.” Growing your own food for a farm-to-table meal accomplishes just that! When Judith William, a senior resident at Spring Hills Princeton Assisted Living Community and a 77 years old breast cancer survivor and professional gardener, was asked for some tips, this is what she had to say:
- Prepare your soil properly. Be sure to read the label of the plants you buy to understand their specific needs.
- Use “Judy Juice”: one spoon of Miracle Grow and a gallon of water to make plans grow happy and big.
- Vegetables need a lot of water and six to eight hours of sun a day to grow big strong.
Happiness from the inside out doesn’t stop there! Gardening has so many benefits. Here are just a few!
- Reduces Stress
- Improves Cognitive Function
- Inspires the Spirit
- Creates Purpose
- Improves Socialization
At Spring Hills, we have been encouraging horticulture therapy since 2010 when we first rolled out our Community Garden as one of our very first Signature Touch Programs. The health benefits on the mind, body, and spirit of an older adult make horticulture therapy an invaluable aspect of effective programing for senior care. To learn more about our horticulture therapy program, click here.