Sensory healing: Seniors learning how to make scent bags from fragrant herbs (Photos by National Parks Board)
EVEN science says so; spending time in nature helps your mind, body and soul heal and rejuvenate, especially for older people.
Following the launch of two new therapeutic gardens at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Tiong Bahru Park in September 2017 by the National Parks Board, the agency introduced its therapeutic horticultural programme series which includes courses in making scent bags from freshly plucked herbs or creating art pieces out of flowers and leaves while surrounded by the smells, sounds and sights of Mother Nature. Here are three things you need to know about NPark’s therapeutic horticultural programmes.
They are senior-friendly
Senior citizens and people living with dementia can use the elderly-friendly features and lush greenery for activities that encourage low-intensity exercise, improve motor skills, stimulate memory and encourage positive social interactions.
Besides scent bag making and leaf collage classes, there are classes such as gardening, plant propagation, growing of edible sprouts, as well as flower and leaf pressing.
These customised programmes, held twice a month and led by trained guides, are well received by participants from the eldercare centres and senior activity centres.
Mental health benefits
Research has not only shown that gardens can help to alleviate the onset of dementia in seniors, but also reinforced the benefits of greenery in improving the mental well-being of Singaporeans.
Results from a recent study by NParks and the National University Health System show that seniors who engage in gardening-related activities feel more socially connected and satisfied with life. They also run a lower risk of having depression and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The plants, herbs and spices found in these gardens are specially curated for their scents, colours and textures to evoke the visitors’ senses.
More therapeutic gardens
With Singapore’s ageing population, the number of seniors at risk of having dementia is expected to increase. One of the key initiatives under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing is to expand the network of healing gardens. There are currently three therapeutic gardens in Singapore: the HortPark — launched last year — and the latest additions in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Tiong Bahru Park. Another garden is slated to bloom in Choa Chu Kang Park in 2018. Visit one of them today!
Picture credits: National Parks Board (NParks)
Where to find a therapeutic garden:
33 Hyderabad Road,
(Off Alexandra Road)
Tiong Bahru Park
Tiong Bahru Road,
(along Lower Delta Road,
opposite Jalan Bukit Ho Swee)
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park
Along Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
(After the junction of Marymount Road,
opposite Block 223)
Also read our story on 5 things that make the new Therapeutic Garden @ HortPark ideal for seniors