Sights, Smells and Memories of the Garden Bring Joy to Elders Lives

January 2013

On a bright January day, when the blooms of spring weren't quite making their way into the world, Elders at the Lodge make sure that plants are getting repotted and plans for this year's garden are in the works.

The Elders are engaged by the infectious laugh of NTL's Registered Horticultural Therapist Kelly Legault's. Kelly has a passion for plants. From rosemary to rhododendrons her knowledge of gardening is vast. However she has more than just a green thumb, she has an acute understanding of how plants and gardening can be a powerful healing tool.

Kelly has brings the scents, smells and textures from outside in. Using sensory stimulation and teamwork to complete activities that give participants feel a sense of accomplishment. The process of Horticultural Therapy is all year long and really encourages personal stories from the past and an open forum for discussion.

For those living with dementia gardening and connecting with living plants is a simple, yet highly powerful way to create meaning and joy. Dementia can make them feel very shut off from their old life, as well as confused and agitated by their surroundings. To help ease those feelings, spontaneity, variety and diversity are introduced into their lives through different mediums, including plants and gardening.

Kelly, who is a home care worker, has worked at the Lodge part-time since 2005 and she has done a variety of programs with the residents. From working in a group to one on one, the therapy takes many forms. From building and maintaining gardens, to creating seasonal arrangements at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and much more.

The work Kelly does bringing Therapeutic Horticultural to residents at NTL is a valuable way to enrich the quality of life, one plant and flower at a time.

Watch a recent story on CTV News about Kelly and the Elders doing some gardening. Horticultural Therapy - CTV News Vancouver Island - January 17, 2013

Kelly & Ed pot a plant

Kelly repots a plant with Elder Ed.

Eden Gardens
1917 Northfield Road, Nanaimo, BC V9S 3B6
Eden Gardens
(250) 758-4676