IMPACT OF A HORTICULTURAL THERAPY PROGRAM ON THE WELL-BEING OF LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY DWELLING OLDER ADULTS
Due to the exponentially aging population, it is becoming increasingly necessary to find effective, affordable, and easily implemented interventions for successful aging. Informal use of horticultural therapy (HT) as an intervention is increasing with older adults, adding to anecdotal evidence of its positive impact. However, empirical research showing its effectiveness continues to be lacking. This pilot study was conducted with two main goals. The first, was to repeat HT activities used in previous studies to form a structured HT program and the second, to determine the impact of a HT program on well-being, self-esteem, self efficacy, and social isolation on a group of community dwelling older adults. A six-week HT program was developed using activities from an unpublished handbook, Horticultural Therapy and Seniors Using Herbs: A Manual for Recreational Therapists and Master Gardeners (Relf, unpublished). HT activities were conducted weekly with three separate groups of community dwelling older adults. Measures of well-being (WHO-5 Well-Being Index), self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), self efficacy (Garden Experience Measure), and social isolation (The Friendship Scale) were taken before and after the program. Treatment groups were compared to a waitlist control group on all four measures. The resulting analysis showed a statistically significant difference in self-esteem and some aspects of self efficacy of the treatment group over the waitlist control group. In addition, participants feedback on their experience of the program proved to be overwhelmingly positive. This HT program meets the criteria of an effective, affordable, and easily implemented intervention and will hopefully encourage more use of HT with older adults.
Perkins, P. (2012). IMPACT OF A HORTICULTURAL THERAPY PROGRAM ON THE WELL-BEING OF LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY DWELLING OLDER ADULTS. Acta Hortic. 954, 123-132
successful aging, self efficacy, self-esteem, social connectedness, HT curriculum, herbs