By Lynn Larochelle, Facilities Director
The sensory appeal of having a garden is unquestioned: smelling the colorful bulbs, touching soft leaves and petals, admiring their beauty, and just listening to the sounds of being outdoors. A garden can be a great place to reflect and remember. But did you know that gardening also has numerous health benefits, especially for older adults?
For many seniors, gardening can serve as an enjoyable form of exercise, allowing them to connect with nature while increasing their own level of physical activity. In addition, the motions involved in digging, watering, and other gardening exercises can help with mobility and flexibility. Gardening encourages the use of numerous motor skills, such as gripping and pulling.
Another possible benefit is stress reduction: many sources agree that gardening is a relaxing and restorative activity. And in addition to a time for introspection and relaxation, garden maintenance can serve as a social pastime. Here at Seventy-Five State Street, our gardens are a hub of activity! The generous support of our volunteers has allowed us to host incredible events, including plant sales, Secret Garden tours, and wine-and-cheese socials.
About 20 years ago, West End resident and landscape architect, Peter Monro, began voluntarily improving our grounds. He enlisted the help of Master Gardeners in establishing landscaping areas at our entrance on Gray Street. He then created a master plan for our grounds and continues to implement and update it year after year.
Annually, for the past eight years, Seventy-Five State Street has been a site for United Way’s Day of Caring. In mid-May, ten volunteers from area businesses spend a day raking, weeding, and mulching our gardens, refreshing them after a long winter. The volunteers eat in our dining rooms where residents praise and thank them for their work. It is amazing to have so much accomplished in just one day.
Perhaps you’d like to wander by on Thursday, May 17th, and observe the exciting transformation taking place on our grounds? Following that event, residents will relish walking outside to see and smell spring bursting everywhere, finally!
Of course, it’s important to make sure gardening activities are conducted safely.
Sometimes this means special modifications of grounds and equipment to make gardening safer for older adults. For example, at Seventy-Five State Street, we use raised garden beds. This helps avoid bending and stooping for the older adults who live here.
What will you plant this year? The possibilities are endless. We hope you’ll stop by and check out our gardens for some floral inspiration!
Content provided by Seventy-Five State Street