The Physical and Psychological Benefits of Horticulture Therapy with the Aged

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The Physical and Psychological Benefits of
Horticulture Therapy with the Aged
Horticultural therapy (HT), as defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association, is “a process utilizing plants and horticultural activities to improve social, educational, psychological and physical adjustment of persons thus improving their body, mind, and spirit”. Although “Horticultural therapy” was introduced by Rhea McCandliss in 1967, using plants to ease discomfort can be traced back to Egyptians. Nowadays, with the further study of horticulture and the large usage of HT, HT has been proven effective in healing and maintaining health on many people. In this research paper, I will focus on the physical and psychological benefits of HT with the aged. The aged as a disadvantaged group has received increasingly attention nowadays because of their specific characteristics – their physical, intellectual and social abilities are declining gradually. HT, as an alternative therapy, can solve all these problems to a certain degree. To begin with, HT can help the aged maintain physical health or relieve physical illnesses. To be more specific, according to the aged physical situations, horticulture therapists will design appropriate horticulture activities individually, from the basic activities like watering to hard physical labor like digging or mulching. All of the activities are aimed to help the elderly practice basic motor skills. During the process of interacting with plants, the aged might believe that they are merely taking care plants. With this thought, they tend to be more active and relaxed during HT than other therapeutic activities. Consequentially, they will find gradual changes happen to their bodies. Besides, outdoor activities can help patients recover quickly, which has been proven in several hospitals with healing garden for horticulture therapeutic activities. Secondly, HT utilizes the plants’ unique features to improve emotional and mental health of...
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