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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 639: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Expanding Roles for Horticulture in Improving Human Well-Being and Life Quality

PLANTS IN HEALTH CARE ENVIRONMENTS: EXPERIENCES OF THE NURSING PERSONNEL IN HOMES FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA

Authors:   E. Rappe, L. Lindén
Keywords:   well-being, outdoor plants, indoor plants, elderly individuals with dementia, horticultural therapy, human issues in horticulture
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.639.8
Abstract:
This study documents nursing personnel’s observations regarding plants in homes for people suffering from dementia. Based on a survey of 65 nursing staff from ten homes it could be concluded that both indoor and outdoor plants were used as tools in the care work and staff believed that it had a beneficial impact on the environment of the homes. Plants created a lush, homelike atmosphere and improved the quality of indoor air according to the survey respondents. They reported that the contribution of the plants to the psychological and social well-being of the residents was prominent. Their reported observations included: plants stimulated residents’ senses, created positive emotions, and offered opportunity for rewarding activity. The main problems identified were residents’ eating of plants and soil and damaging plants. The residents were interested especially in colorful plants and berries. Although the nursing personnel considered plants and gardening to be therapeutic to the residents, they often disapproved of residents’ actions regarding the plants, including positive actions. They might regard as negative if the residents moved plants from place to place, picked flowers, or watered plants. The nursing personnel interested in gardening had used horticulture in care work more than those not interested in gardening. Education about plants and growing methods adapted for the elderly was felt to be necessary for the personnel. This study provides evidence that professionals in the field of eldercare believe that plants do not cause any major problems in care environment but can contribute significantly to the well-being of individuals with dementia.

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