The residents at the Care Center enjoy have enjoyed Garden Therapy as a way to stay connected to the outdoors. Residents at Jacob’s House and Anna’s House love to participate in garden therapy activities that have been going on monthly for nearly three years. The program is run by a resident family member who is passionate about gardens. Each month, the actual activity varies but the benefits remain the same. At the Good Shepherd Home, volunteers from the Holland Garden Club come monthly and lead garden-related activities with the same benefits.
Using items from a garden or from nature is one way for residents to continue to be connected to the outdoors even in the winter months. By working with items from a garden such as pine cones, flowers, leaves, or twigs, residents are able to practice fine motor skills that are needed for everyday activities.
Working with real items in nature also adds a sensory component to an activity. Residents at times are able to smell, touch and see items which can help stimulate cherished memories from their past that may not be stimulated with other activities.
Residents learn about the different garden materials they’re working with, which promotes conversation and socialization among friends. One resident stated, “I really enjoy the garden therapy activity. I get excited to see what we’re going to do each time. It’s a really nice activity.”