Community garden checks all the boxes for seniors

For seniors, high quality care is about more than just meals and medicine. Seniors have physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs that are all important. But how can your community help a range of individual residents, with their own individual preferences and challenges, meet these needs?

Residents at Golden West, who range in age from 62 to 90, have found a simple activity that checks all of these boxes: during the growing season, they tend a community garden, nurturing herbs and flowers from planting to harvest. They share this bounty with the community’s other residents, while getting great low-impact exercise and their daily dose of Vitamin D.

The garden also provides a safe, casual, low-stress space for residents to socialize and enjoy the shared work. Many residents have said that the community garden eased the transition to senior living, giving them a social outlet in the days and weeks after moving to Golden West.

It’s also difficult to overstate the psychological benefits of the community garden. Often, an unspoken worry about moving to a senior living community is that it will be difficult to find meaningful activity. The community garden addresses this feeling by providing residents with a chance to see the fruits of their labor. Not only is there a sense of pride and purpose that comes from tending a group of plants through an entire life cycle, it is an excellent way to learn new things, remain mobile and maintain memory.

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge the spiritual element that many of our residents raise when talking about the community garden. Religion and spirituality are famously tricky topics, and it can be tough to meet the spiritual needs of residents in a way that resonates with everyone. But the garden does just that—for many residents, the simple but meaningful pleasures of their work in the garden are enhanced by observing nature’s eternal cycles of life and re-birth.

We have seen time and again how the community garden has brought joy and color to our residents, even if they aren’t the ones tending the plots. It provides exercise for the body and the mind, and it has become an institution at our community. We’re thrilled we have the chance to host such a beautiful garden, and we look forward to enjoying its bounty for years to come.

Jill Moore, Director of Resident Programs at Golden West
1055 Adams Circle
Boulder, CO
http://gwboulder.org


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