Dirt Therapy

We design Gardening programs for Seniors that meet the special needs of the specific Senior population we are working with.   The physical, mental and emotional benefits of gardening activities may be slightly different when working with Memory Care residents compared to very able Independent seniors.  But gardening is beneficial for Seniors of all ages and ability levels and is enjoyed by many Seniors.

We believe garden related activities and “enabled gardens” should be designed to be accessible to all.  For example, raised garden beds, raised boxes, wall gardens, hanging plants and small individual containers can all be used in accessible Garden Therapy programs.   We encourage Seniors with physical or cognitive limitations are to actively participate in planning and caring for the garden or their container plants so they feel a greater sense of accomplishment and ownership.  For Memory Care residents, keeping projects simple and providing hand over hand instruction is important when helping them complete tasks independently.
Enjoying the Raised bed gardens at The Village at Richardson
Dirt Therapy activities are unique in that they use living materials requiring nurturing and care.  The natural life cycle of plants provides participants with plenty of ongoing horticultural tasks and activities that stimulate thought and exercise and encourages an awareness of the seasons and the environment.  This is especially important for Memory Care participants.

Our Dirt Therapy classes help retirement housing providers and health care administrators provide Senior residents with fun activities that improve quality of life and provide sensory and visual stimulation, social involvement, and healthy exercise.  And as the Baby Boomer Generation ages, we believe the need for unique activities and  horticultural therapy programs will continue to grow.
Learning how to create "Mini Greenhouses" and propagating a new  ivy plan for her window sill garden

We believe gardening should be about getting dirty without feeling guilty, enjoying the results of a job well done and taking the time to soak up the sun and serenity that being in nature offers all of us.  

Benefits of Garden Therapy include:

Improved Physical Functioning-   Garden activities provide moderate exercise and builds fine motor skills by planting seeds or transplanting seedlings.  Activities like digging and weeding improve gross motor skills. For those with limited mobility, even standing and working in raised beds provides an opportunity for good exercise.

Sensory Stimulation-   Aging often involves loss or reduction of sensory capabilities so it becomes important to stimulate the senses that remain.  Simple garden tasks improve hand-eye coordination and touching plants and smelling herbs and flowers can stimulate the senses and trigger happy memories from the past.

Improved Emotional Status-   Garden projects and activities help build each participant’s self esteem and confidence as they are encouraged to make decisions and think creatively when completing personal projects.  Working with plants fosters a sense of nurturing and purpose and these tasks and projects can often provide structure and activities that alleviate depression and alter negative feelings. 

Social SkillsGarden programs provide an excellent opportunity for participants to interact with group leaders and other participants through sharing materials and creative ideas, assisting others with tasks, and sharing stories and memories of previous gardenling experiences with others.

Dirt Therapy classes at Silverado Senior Living in Plano, TX-

Silverado Senior Living is a wonderful Memory Care Community that provides great programming for their residents.  We were able to get back to our raised bed garden on a warm and windy March day.

Square foot gardening in raised containers
Miss G working away!
Many hands make light work!

Enjoying a warm March day in the sun!
 We had a great day planting one of our raised container beds.  Had a beautiful sunny 70 degree March afternoon in Dallas, and we enjoyed getting our Vitamin D the natural way!

Garden Club Class at Atria in Carrollton-

This is the second year for our Garden Club at Atria in Carrollton.  Atria is a great Assisted Living facility and they have a beautiful courtyard for the residents to enjoy.  We work in the flower beds and plant large containers and pots.  This past week we planted some early Spring annuals and a few bulbs to liven up the courtyard.  Some of the ladies were happy to soak up the sun and give moral support while others rolled up their sleeves and got some dirt under their fingernails!

Hard at work on the flower beds
Working hard  and getting hugs!

Sometimes it's fun to watch everyone else do the work!

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