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The effects of gardening on quality of life of older adults living in long-term care settings
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As the percentage of people 65 years of age and older increases each year, quality of life for older adults becomes an increasingly important issue. Encompassing such areas as health care, psychology, and sociology, professionals are seeking holistic approaches to sustaining and improving quality of life for older adults. One such approach being utilized in many countries is horticultural therapy. Caregivers in long-term care facilities for older adults suggest that horticultural therapy helps meet physical and emotional objectives suitable for residents such as providing physical activity, decreasing stress, establishing autonomy, aiding in a sense of purpose, providing a source for new knowledge as well as a source for recalling old knowledge, improving social interaction, increasing motivation, and increasing overall well-being and life satisfaction. These claims suggest a connection between horticultural therapy and high quality of life for older adults; however, few scientific studies have researched these claims. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the perceived quality of life of older adult gardeners and non-gardeners in order to determine whether horticulture activities influence perceptions of quality of life. Targeting adults 65 years and older who live in long-term care homes, the sample of this study totaled 109 participants. Each participant was administered a two-part Gardening and Quality of Life survey consisting of a personal information section which assessed participants' involvement in horticultural activities (determining participants' assignment to either the non-gardener control group or the gardener experimental group) and a quality of life inventory (The Quality of Life Profile: Seniors Version). The results from the Gardening and Quality of Life survey indicated that there were no statistically significant differences in quality of life within and between gardener and non-gardener groups regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or education; however, quality of life scores were high for both groups. Information compiled from the survey revealed that a majority of participants enjoyed three or more leisure activities, which, according to other research, is an important predictor of quality of life. This high participation in leisure activities may account for high quality of life scores among both gardeners and non-gardeners.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 65-72).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Hartman, Ashley Irene (2002). The effects of gardening on quality of life of older adults living in long-term care settings. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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