12 April 2017
Gardening and Wellbeing – By Interchange Australia Consultant, Wendy Hughes
Lindy Alexander in a recent wellbeing article in the Sydney Morning Herald commented “it is hard to find a more potent symbol of regeneration than a garden.” She said that “gardening isn’t about success, it’s about discovery and hope.” Gardening covers so many aspects of our wellbeing needs, the physicality of planting, propagating and potting are very helpful with our fine motor skills. The interaction with others, or just some much needed solitude, is psychologically beneficial, as is the emotional effect of connecting with our natural surroundings. Toni Salter, president of Cultivate NSW, the state’s peak body for horticultural therapy, noted that research has shown “immense benefits for a person’s mental and physical health is they escape into a bit of greenery.”
Therapy and community gardens have sprung up in many places, including aged care facilities, rehabilitation centres, group homes and community centres. In 2010, Interchange Australia received a community development support grant to provide a sustainable therapy garden at Springett House, where a range of community participation programs are provided for our clients. Since then, the garden has evolved into an integral part of the Springett House community and has made a very positive contribution to the wellbeing of our clients across the age and disability spectrum, including:
• Creating a fun and healthy activity for people of varying ages and abilities;
• Promoting good environmental practices by establishing sustainable vegetable gardens, recycling and compost bins, efficient watering system and worm farms;
• Encouraging communication, social skills, and self-esteem whilst reducing isolation and exclusion through increased interactions;
• Improving gross and fine motor skills;
• Enjoying health and therapeutic benefits in safe, tactile environments;
• Learning about nutrition by growing, harvesting and preparing vegetables, fruit and herbs for the kitchen; and
• Providing sensory stimulation.
For more information about the activities we offer at Springett House or to learn more about our sensory garden, please call 1300 112 334.