Thursday, May 02, 2019

Residents Garden Their Way to More Self-Esteem and Empowerment

Do you know that gardening helps reduce blood pressure, promote relaxation and improve sleep?

With its various health benefits, it may just be the hobby you want to pick up.

Twenty residents at the Orange Valley Nursing Home’s (OVNH) Marsiling branch did just that. These residents are part of the Home’s new programme, the “Adopt-A-Plant” project, which kickstarted in November 2018. Each resident was responsible for caring for their plant from seedling to harvest or flowering.    

The residents chose their preferred flower or vegetable seeds from a list given by the Home and got their hands dirty, sowing the seeds in soil and pots, under the guidance of the OVNH staff. The potted plants were then placed on the veranda to absorb sunlight.  

OVNH went through a tight selection process to pick out the most suitable seeds for the residents to plant. Flowering seeds such as rose and sunflowers seeds were preferred as they are bright and vibrant. Vegetable seeds like chilli, bitter gourd, ladies fingers, long bean and green bean seeds were picked for their faster sprouting process, making it easier for the residents to manage.

After the planting process, the residents were responsible for the daily watering and nurturing of their personal seedlings, with assistance from the staff.

OVNH staff are on hand to help residents tender to their plant, including watering the plant

The simple act of gardening offers numerous benefits. It promotes social interaction and fosters quality bonding time between the residents and staff.  Being with nature also improves the residents’ overall well-being. More importantly, residents developed a sense of satisfaction and achievement when they see their plants grow and flourish.

Mdm Lye, a resident at the Marsiling Branch, shares, “My plants are growing healthily under my tender loving care. I love to attend to my plants every morning. It makes me feel positive, healthy and very happy.”

The project fulfils the Home’s goal of encouraging their residents to be physically active through this hands-on experience. Beyond that, having control over their plants may increase the residents’ self-esteem and help them gain a sense of empowerment.

OVNH staff feel a difference in their residents since the project launch, and are encouraged by the positive response from the residents. Lieza Grijalvo Ng, Staff Nurse at the Marsiling Home, says, “Our residents look forward to seeing their plants grow. We feel a sense of fulfilment when we see that our residents are happy and enjoying this project. This gives us the motivation to craft more meaningful activities for their well-being.”

A resident tending to the plants

OVNH has since grown the Adopt-A-Plant project to other branches, with nearly 100 residents now diligently watering and caring for their plants.

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