The team at Accredited Home Care enjoys spreading the word that plants can beautify people’s homes as well as offer useful mental and physical health benefits.
Although there are some types of plants that can benefit from extra maintenance or more familiarity with botany, basic houseplants can be appreciated by just about anyone, whether they already have a house full of them or don’t have all that much experience.
Plants can brighten people’s days and moods in plenty of ways. They’re generally low-maintenance and can give people something to look at and enjoy. They also can be something that people can talk to and take care of, and something especially enjoyable for someone who lives by themselves.
Research is also showing that the act of working with plants, whether it’s taking care of some in the house or going out and gardening, can not only provide some physical activity but is stimulating mentally as well.
For instance, a hospice in Surrey, England, is discovering all sorts of value in offering regular plant-based activities for its residents. During these “therapeutic horticulture” sessions, the residents are able to put their energy into putting plants into pots and adding soil, something that all participants seem to enjoy. The act of playing with soil, remembering past planting experiences or spending time with fellow residents seems to create positive experiences all around.
Organizers say the participants enjoy the experience no matter their health condition – even residents with advanced dementia or other physical challenges are able to focus on the plant tasks.
Choosing the right plant
Incorporating plants into someone’s world can be enjoyable for the givers as well as the recipients. If you’re planning to provide one as a gift, or even get one for yourself, consider some of the following strategies:
- Easy to take care of. Start with something that just about anyone can maintain with basic watering or pruning. Avoid plants or trees that may require extra attention, such as being especially sensitive to temperature, soil or water, might be too challenging to someone with little experience with plants or someone who may forget to maintain it daily. Then, if it dies, it could have the opposite effect of cheering them up and making them feel worse about themselves and their life. Trees might be too much for someone with limited mobility, or roses might be too tricky at first.
- Something visually impressive. Flowers that bloom occasionally might be a lot of fun for someone less experienced with plants. They may enjoy seeing new colors and growths every now and then rather than the same thing every day. Even something that grows easily might provide some positive reinforcement that someone is doing things right.
- Something that won’t hurt. Some plants may look nice but contain materials that can irritate the skin. Other plants may have toxins if accidentally eaten by pets or humans. Be careful when choosing a plant based on looks alone.
- Something that can be easily moved. Like a puppy, a plant may start small but may need more space as it grows. There are also some practical reasons for this, such as if the owner needs a different living arrangement, they may want their plant to come with them. This means that plants that are too big or difficult to move, such as a shrub or a tree, might need to stay put even if the recipient relocates.
- Something that’s easy to give away. While a favorite plant might not appear in someone’s formal estate documents, an owner may want to make sure it goes to a good home when considering their final arrangements.
Some of the value of plants is a little hard to explain other than “they make me feel good.”
But researchers have made efforts to try to quantify this. Healthline, for instance, has rounded up some of the benefits that people have expressed from having plants in their home. The extensive list starts with being able to clean the air through photosynthesis by providing more oxygen, which is better for those with lung or respiratory challenges. They can increase the humidity in the air, which also can improve health. One of the more valuable benefits of plants in the home is that they are known to improve and enhance moods. Somehow, having plants are able to decrease negative feelings and increase positive feelings.
The physical act of maintaining plants can also have useful results. Even though it may not feel like exercise, it can at least get one’s limbs moving and blood flowing. The fact that you’re taking care of a living thing that depends on you can have all sorts of value to your overall well-being.
Overall, the staff at Accredited Home Care is happy to recommend that clients find ways to improve their lives simply by adding more plants.