Therapeutic Garden Club

With a $15,000 grant from Westminster College Foundation, Phase 1 of the Therapeutic Garden Club was a success in AOS. The goal was to develop an optimal garden design in combination with appropriate horticultural programming for day program clients coping with Alzheimer Disease and related Disorders (ADRD). The pilot study involved 14 clients who had an expressed interest and history in gardening activities and who attended to their own assigned, raised garden plots for a period of 10 weeks. The grant allowed for another significant program enhancement by the installation of a number of bird feeders and bird houses in the garden that are observable both outside and inside.

In partnership with Fanshawe College our research design became focused on two areas:

- Changes in the affect of clients participating in the Therapeutic Garden Club

- Client level of engagement in gardening activities – were they actively engaged in gardening.

Emerging findings further indicate that the concept of occupational tasks (e.g. watering plants, planting plants) gives clients’ meaningful work, and produces a higher quality of life while engaged in gardening activities. When clients are immersed in their gardens, data collected reveals thus far that person-centred care and sparking interests in past hobbies is fundamental to well-being. These preliminary findings strongly suggest that the program provide essential and unique programming that enhances clients’ wellbeing.