Purpose of the Program
This program serves a numbers of functions. It keeps the individuals living in the facilities physically and mentally active and alert (it gets them "digging in the dirt" for even more exercise). It reinvigorates individuals and gives them a new feeling of self-worth. It promotes a collegial atmosphere to keep the residents working together and keeps them from becoming isolated. It gives the residents responsibility in that they are responsible for the live of other living things. It helps to beautify the local community; in some cased it provides produce and herbs for the food they eat. In this way, we are "giving back" to the communities. And, the events encourage residents to interact with each other and the communities in which they live. They feel more involved and more a part of the community.
This program increases the social interaction of residents who otherwise are isolated and alone. It gives a sense of worth, a sense of responsibility, a sense of self, and sense of community involvement. The increased physical activity also has an impact on health.
Health Benefits of Gardening
Exposure to vitamin D
Vitamin D increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system. A 2014 Italian study, published on the National Institutes of Health website, found that exposure to sunlight helped older adults achieve adequate serum vitamin D levels.
Decreased dementia risk
A 2006 study found that gardening could lower risk of dementia by 36 percent. Researchers tracked more than 2,800 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and concluded that physical activity, particularly gardening, could reduce the incidence of dementia in future years.
A study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening fights stress even better than other hobbies. Participants completed a stressful task and were then told to read inside or go outdoors and garden for 30 minutes. The gardening group reported better moods afterward, and their blood tests showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Enjoyable aerobic exercise
Gardening is a great form of aerobic exercise. Pulling weeds, reaching for various plants and tools, and twisting and bending as you plant will work new muscles in your body and help with strength, stamina, and flexibility.
Helps combat loneliness
After retirement, many people struggle with fewer socialization opportunities, and community gardens can be a fun way to engage with others while providing benefits to neighborhoods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, community gardens are "collaborative projects on shared open spaces where participants join together in the maintenance and products of the garden, including healthful and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables."
Information from AARP:
Ernest L. Breeding Gardening Program
This program is designed to foster and encourage activity-based flower and gardening clubs and projects at long-term care residences. Residents drive these efforts, including getting out to plant nurseries to purchase flowers and plants and then "digging in the dirt" for physical activity. Residents involved in these programs are passionate about gardening!
History of the Program
In 2013 we began a new program to foster and encourage activity-based flower and gardening clubs and projects at long-term care residences and other groups residences, affordable housing and community facilities.
This program is named after Ernest L. Breeding, a former resident of one of our sponsored facilities who was an avid and dedicated gardener. This program provides "seed" funding for the residents at the facilities to obtain plan materials, seedlings, herbs, vegetables and other associated supplies and materials to plant, develop and maintain gardens at the group residences and facilities where they live.
We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity
Enriching Lives ... One at a Time