Bringing the Garden Indoors –
for those who need it most
By Peter Amarosa
Horticulture therapy is one of the best ways to improve the emotional state of residents
in various long-term care settings. Tending to plants decreases anxiety and creating
and maintaining a garden develops and maintains gross motor skills; and sitting in a
garden setting produces mental and sensory stimulation. Studies show that gardening
helps battle with Alzheimer's as well as dementia.

Because many patients with Alzheimer’s are able to experience only the present
moment, gardening creates a powerful connection to the past and future. Many patients
were involved at some point in their lives with working in their own gardens or yards and
many caregivers work to tap into the hobbies that patients enjoyed in the past.
Additionally, as the gardens grow and fruits and vegetables are harvested, the concept
of time is demonstrated in a very concrete way.

“The gardens have brought back memories, feelings and interests that many residents
may have lost over the years. We are looking forward to many more years of growing
memories,”  states Maureen Riley of the Pine Run Community in Doylestown, PA.

Choosing plants that reflect seasonal changes, like fruit plants and vegetables, will
also help to orient people in time and place. The benefits are amazing and magnified in
those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Especially as the gardener’s begin to
enjoy the fruits of their labor.

StandUp Gardens are award winning Indoor and Outdoor Garden Systems endorsed
by the American Horticultural Therapy Association. The gardens allow residents of
various facilities to experience the therapeutic benefits of a life enriching horticultural
program indoors or out. Many of the units are equipped with grow lights that provide the
benefits of outdoor sunlight.  Standup Gardens provide year-round opportunities for
independent activities.

“To my amazement the grow light has stimulated growth in a traditional and non-
traditional sense. The plants themselves have taken off, climbing the trellis sides and
tickling the arbor top,” states Susan Worley from the Kingswood facility in Kansas City,
MO. “Our residents have blossomed too, venturing out of their own living spaces more
often to peer curiously at the new growth. As the Director of Wellness, it is sometimes a
difficult challenge to meet the social, spiritual, emotional, physical, vocational and
intellectual needs of all of my residents. StandUp Gardens has been an invaluable tool
for surpassing my goals.”

And Celia Zuckerman, director of New York Congregational in Brooklyn, NY states, “the
Nursing Center is in full bloom during the warm weather months with brightly colored
flowers and plants adorning the campus and juicy vegetables and fragrant herbs
thriving in the Center’s Intergenerational Garden.”

A StandUp Garden…

Improves dexterity and stimulates reminiscing in dementia residents
Increases variety of OT and PT options
Allows residents to be “care givers” vs. “care receivers”
Promotes conversation and builds community spirit
Enriches lives by keeping residents connected to nature
Moves easily throughout the facility and is wheelchair accessible

StandUp Gardens offers a 10% discount to all current NCCDP members. Please
provide your membership information at the time of order. For more information about
the therapeutic benefits of owning a StandUp Garden, please visit us at www.

Consider filling the stand up gardens with fragrant flowering miniature roses.  These
will not only be fragrant but will delight your residents with beautiful blossoms. See this

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Pathways to the Past
by Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP
Executive Director,
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Sandra Stimson has
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