Green Hill has launched a new program to aid in the rehabilitation of our residents called the Green Hill Therapy Garden. The garden will be located adjacent to the Green House Rehabilitation home, part of our Green House Homes neighborhood. Design and fundraising for the project is now underway.
The act of gardening has long been known to have healthful effects on participants reducing stress, increasing physical health and strength, and eliciting spiritual balance. For thousands of years, gardens have been designed to create spaces where people can interact with nature, play, rest, and reflect. A movement is underway in healthcare to include the use of gardens as part of a physical, occupational and psychological care plan to heal patients and prepare them for their life outside of the garden’s gate. Characteristics of a therapeutic garden were developed in 1993 by the American Horticultural Therapy Association. The American Association of Landscape Architects is one of the additional groups who are continuing to contribute to the development of design elements for therapeutic landscapes.
Determining the design and use of the environment for the Green Hill Therapy Garden has been a collective process, utilizing the expertise of landscape architect, Design for Generations, and our team of doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, caregivers, staff members and a horticultural therapist.
The therapy garden will directly benefit those who come to Green Hill after a clinical episode, such as a fall, surgery or an illness where strength, and balance need to be improved so that the person can obtain their prior state of independence. The therapy garden will complete the therapeutic cycle of rehabilitative care offered in the home like setting of the Green House Homes. The therapy garden will also benefit all of our residents with a variety of rehabilitation needs that include common issues of aging, dementia and even PSTD.
“A well designed therapy garden includes much of what is found outdoors in a home setting to support rehabilitation of a person’s former state of independence in relation to their outdoor environment,” said Green Hill Executive Director and President Toni Lynn Davis.
Patients will practice balance utilizing a variety of surfaces such as cement, grass, sand, pavers and wood. They will practice going up and down stairs, working with gardening tools, planting, shoveling, raking and other activities that they encounter in their daily lives at home.
“Another aim of therapeutic gardens is to promote ambulation, positive reminiscences, decreased stress and stabilized sleep wake cycles… exposure to nature has been associated with reduction in pain, improvement in attention and modulation of stress responses. In addition, some studies have reported that having free access to an outdoor area may reduce some agitated behaviors, medications and falls in dementia residents.” Psychiatry Investig. 2012 Jun;9(2):100-110. English, Published online May 22, 2012, Copyright © 2012 Korean Neuropsychiatric Association.
The Therapy Garden compliments the occupational rehabilitation provided in the Green House Home setting where the person can practice functioning in a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room, and practice negotiating carpet, tile, doorways and back yard spaces.
“In addition to the clinical therapeutic focus for the body of our residents, the garden will provide support for healing of the mind and spirit which is so very important during a challenging recovery,” said Ms. Davis. “Utilizing rocks and water to create a Zen like area for reflection and meditation, as well as the different plants and flowers that will change with the seasons and engage the senses, will support the rehabilitative efforts of residents and caregivers alike.”
At Green Hill the focus is on the quality of life of residents regardless of their physical, cognitive or emotional challenges. Incorporating the use of the beautiful outdoor spaces on the landscaped 21-acre property is a priority and includes the rain garden, backyard social areas at each Green House Home, and shaded patios and sun gardens at the Legacy building.
There are two ways to participate in the success of the Green Hill Therapy Garden. The purchase of a commemorative engraved garden paver that will grace the garden walkways is a wonderful gift for the holidays for family, friends and colleagues. Or, make an additionally significant contribution to the Therapy Garden capital campaign.
Include the Green Hill Therapy Garden in your end-of-year funding plan by contacting Toni@green-hill.com, and feel confident that your resources are providing healing, and rehabilitation in an environmentally supportive setting to those who need it most.
Green Hill is 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.