Arboretum Partnership Offers Edgemere Residents Opportunity to “Grow”
Residents at Edgemere senior living community were invited to take part in the Edith’s Memory Garden Program, a community outreach program for individuals living in the early to middle stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The program, orchestrated by Edith’s Memory Garden facilitators from the Arboretum, is sponsored by the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund and AWARE Dallas, a Dallas Foundation-supported nonprofit fighting Alzheimer’s disease since 1989. Founded by Rita and Henry Hortenstine and the Arboretum staff, the program is specifically designed for those facing memory loss and offers unique gardening and nature experiences to engage, educate and inspire.
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Working in collaboration with Edgemere’s team, facilitators helped select a seasonal topic of interest and provide an instructional session for residents to engage their minds and hands in the natural gardening process. Information was presented to participants in a group setting to encourage social connection as well as experiential learning. Topics of interest vary by program but can include Colors of Nature, Trees, Birds, Seeds, Succulents, Insects, Leaves and Tomatoes.
Edgemere residents of The Plaza memory care neighborhood, who participated in the program in September and October, enjoyed a planting session with Memory Garden volunteers, who shared insight into proper plant care and tips for cultivating and sustaining growth. Potting materials, plants and necessary supplies were provided for participants to take ownership of their garden projects from start to finish, and residents were given their finished potted flowers and plants to care for in their homes.
Members of Edgemere's team noted the importance of programming like Edith’s Memory Garden for residents, explaining that the routine of tending to and caring for a plant can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for a senior managing the signs and symptoms of dementia. In addition, the opportunity to engage the mind and hands in a group gardening or horticulture activity can not only meet an individual’s need for critical social interaction but can also provide a multi-sensory experience that can be a very calming, grounding activity. Activities like these provide a creative outlet and help to relieve stress, improve mood and usher in a wealth of other therapeutic benefits.
These benefits, especially for individuals with cognitive loss and dementia, can have several positive effects. Recent reviews and studies conducted by the National Institute of Health on the therapeutic benefits of gardening noted improvements in cognitive function, agitation, emotional state and engagement for people with dementia. For many people, contact with nature is an essential restorative experience, and for Edgemere residents, a lifestyle that cultivates these needed experiences — both indoors and out — is always accessible and second to none.
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Newsweek's prestigious ranking reflects the community's dedication to creating an environment that fosters well-being, social connections and a fulfilling retirement experience, making it the premier destination to retire in Texas.