The Elderhaus is an adult day center that has been serving the elderly in Fort Collins, Colorado since 1980. The Elderhaus location already has a few large raised garden beds but lacks gardening tools and funding to create a horticultural therapy program. A trained horticultural therapist is an individual who has specialized knowledge to design unique gardening activities to specifically meet the therapeutic needs of the elderly and will lead the proposed horticultural therapy program.
Horticultural therapy is the "engagement of a client in horticultural activities facilitated by a trained therapist to achieve specific and documented therapeutic goals" (American Horticulture Therapy Association, 2013). The horticultural therapist will strive to meet the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social needs within a natural setting though therapeutic activities. Listed below are a few
examples of how horticultural therapy can serve the elderly.
- Increase fine motor movement while using gardening tools.
- Decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness while reestablishing a network of support through activity participation.
- Increase feelings of overall life satisfaction and self-autonomy by completing horticulture tasks.
- Increase cognitive orientation and memory recollection by participating in seasonally appropriate horticulture activities.
Caitlyn Olde is the horticultural therapist who is starting this program in order to complete her internship hours with Colorado State University and to finish her therapist registration requirements with the American Horticulture Therapy Association. She is interested in starting a new horticultural therapy program that focuses on the needs of the elderly after noticing that Northern Colorado currently lacks that type of programming in the area. On a personal note, she is very interested in working with the elderly after witnessing her own Grandpa experience his own therapeutic benefits from being an avid gardner for over 50 years.
In order to allow others to experience the same benefits that her grandpa has through gardening, Caitlyn will create year-round indoor and outdoor programing that will meet the therapeutic needs of the elderly. As a person will also regularly document the elderly clients' treatment progress through activity participation. The documentation process as well as specific treatment goal planning is what separates horticultural therapy from a regular gardening club.If you are interesting in helping us transform this idea into a reality, please consider donating by the following ways:
- Pledge to this project
- Share this project to your community (social media or email links where friends can access this page is the best!)
- Offer an in-kind reward
· Once this project is funded, the horticultural therapy program will become the first of its kind in Northern Colorado. Horticultural therapy is already recognized as a complimentary therapy that has the ability to greatly enrich the lives of those who partake in it. In order for this field to grow and become increasingly prominent in our healthcare system, the support of individuals who believe in the healing impact gardening is needed.