Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Houseplants increase quality of life for retirement community residents

02.03.2009
Caring for plants increases physical and emotional health

As the U.S. population ages, the number of citizens moving from their own homes to assisted living or long-term-care facilities is increasing dramatically. These numbers are expected to continue rising.

By 2030, the population aged 65 years and older is expected to double to more than 71 million. Quality of life becomes an important issue for older adults who will reside in retirement facilities.

An article published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology examines the impact of indoor gardening in regards to quality of life in assisted-living facilities. The results of the study, conducted by Claudia C. Collins and Angela M. O'Callaghan, find that an activity as simple as caring for a houseplant can have very positive effects on a resident's happiness.

The study measured three attributes: mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness. Mastery was defined as the belief that one's actions and choices determine outcomes in life. Often, when adults make the transition from living on their own to an assisted-living or long-term-care facility, they begin to feel a loss of control in their choices and independence. This loss of mastery has a negative impact on their overall sense of health and well-being. Mastery and self-rated health have been found to be two of the most accurate predictors of the social concept of "successful aging", a concept defined as high mental and physical functioning and active engagement with life.

One known way to improve the physical or emotional status of people who have diminished control over their lives is by encouraging them to take responsibility for another individual. This "other individual" may be a person, animal, or plant.

The 4-week study involved participation by 18 residents in a weekly, 2-hour interactive horticulture class taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. The residents were given interactive lessons on the care of houseplants, choices of what plants to bring home and care for, and different options in potting containers. The classes also offered residents an opportunity for social interaction with peers and instructors.

Over the course of the study, the teachers were impressed by the transformation of the overall demeanor of the students. They changed from a state of passive, lonely dependence to being more active, socially connected, and responsible for something other than themselves, demonstrating improvement in quality of life and mastery.

Several key categories emerged over the course of the study that illustrated areas of improvement in the resident's quality of life. First, caring for their houseplants provided companionship for the residents, some of whom reported singing and talking to their plants. Second, caring for the plants encouraged active and energetic participation. The researchers reported that "the overall energy was positive and electric as everyone involved could not wait to see how their plants would fare", adding that study participants "got dirty hands, dirt on their clothes, and felt competent."

Other positive impacts noted were a general feeling of success and accomplishment. Residents also showed excitement in planning for the future, and looked forward to being involved in developing an outdoor community garden.

Results of this study suggest that a horticulture intervention such as personal plant responsibility may be beneficial over a period of time. The researchers suggested that similar short-term horticultural activities could be used to help integrate new residents into assisted living, making it feel like their new home, as opposed to being "in a home". Future research will assess longer-term impacts as students from this class transition into the core group for ongoing development of an outdoor healing garden at the site.

Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ashs.org
http://horttech.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/4/611

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

nachricht Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>