Meaningful Life’s Shayna Warhaftig (left) and Gloria Gantes assist Fredericka Achin in the Eldergrow garden.

Even the youngest of the Elders living in The Woodlands or Seaside Cove at John Knox Village remembers the rhyme, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” Whether your name is Mary or Marty, you most probably recall a connection with gardening in your younger years. Perhaps you grew up on a farm or had a large veggie garden in the backyard. Yet, even if you grew up living in a big city apartment, you certainly had some favorite plants or potted flowers to add “life” to your home.

LeadingAge Florida And Eldergrow

In August, LeadingAge Florida, a statewide not-for-profit corporation which assists its members in senior living, nursing homes and senior services, launched a therapeutic gardening program for Elders living in the Meaningful Life homes at JKV: The Woodlands and Seaside Cove.

Two coordinators from Eldergrow, the horticultural company partnering with LeadingAge Florida, Trina Hofreiter, Program Administrator, and Katie Stoneback, Eldergrow Educator, were present under The Woodlands Porte-cochere to kick off the program. Katie will be visiting twice a month hosting horticulture therapy classes with Elders for a total of two hours at each garden.

As the program began, Elders were invited to come forward, pick out their favorite plant from the large available selection, and dig at this ground-breaking event.

As each selection was made, it was tagged with the name of the plant and the Elder who planted it. The three moveable gardens will make their rounds to each home inside The Woodlands and Seaside Cove.

According to the program’s stated purpose, “The Eldergrow garden offers a therapeutic connection to nature. Elders engage in meaningful ways with the garden: Socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively and spiritually. Expert educators teach classes on horticulture, garden art and culinary harvest.

“Therapeutic horticulture improves motor skills, elevates mood, reduces falls, improves self-esteem, reduces risk factors for dementia, improves sleep, reduces agitation and acts as an antidepressant. The garden gives Elders something to nurture and look forward to.”

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