Evaluating the Impact of Community Gardening on Sense of Purpose for Persons Living with Dementia: A Cluster-Randomized Pilot Study

Abigail C. Styck, Daniel R. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Gardening has been shown to have positive effects on persons living with dementia, but no studies have explored the effects of gardening on sense of purpose. Objective: Explore how gardening may influence sense of purpose for people with dementia. Methods: Ten residents with dementia diagnoses living in a skilled care facility participated in hour-long gardening sessions twice weekly at outdoor raised beds over a two-month duration. One group (n = 5) donated vegetables to a food pantry while the other (n = 5) harvested produce for personal use. Semi-structured interviews with participants and their caregivers conducted post-intervention were analyzed for themes. Results: Participants and caregivers reported biopsychosocial benefits of gardening, identifying four main themes: 1) Gardening outdoors provided specific physical benefits that improved quality of life; 2) Working on a project in a group setting improved mood and fostered a sense of community; 3) Gardening promoted reminiscence and reinforced a sense of self; 4) Gardening provided participants with a sense of purpose and pride. Conclusion: Gardening has biopsychosocial benefits for persons living with dementia, and there appears to be additive benefit linked to improved sense of purpose via charitable giving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-367
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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