AlzU Blog

Can Gardening Help with Alzheimer's?

If you are a caregiver with a passion for gardening, you may be interested in learning about a book named “A Calendar Year of Horticultural Therapy, How Tending to Your Garden Can Tend to Your Soul,” written Janice Hoetker Doherty. This book is full of ideas on horticultural activities and how they can improve skills that can provide Alzheimer’s help, How Gardening Promotes Alzheimer’s Help/  such as endurance, conditioning, and even coordination.  Not only is gardening good for the soul, according to Doherty, it can even help those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Doherty is involved in an innovative type of treatment called “horticulture therapy.” offers many tips that have the benefit of helping persons with dementia and their caregivers. 

In her book, Doherty offers many therapeutic effects of gardening, including;
•Improved social development
•Improvement of self esteem
•Cognitive development-resulting from following simple instructions
•Improvement in coordination from physical movement involved in gardening
•Visual stimulation from bright colored flowers and plants
•Reduction of stress-as evidenced by lower heart rate and blood pressure as a result of gardening
•Overall well-being from the pleasant fragrances in the garden

According to Doherty “Although the Alzheimer patient may have difficulty expressing their thoughts in the spoken word, they can communicate in many other ways through their love of gardening.”  Doherty goes on to explain the many therapeutic activities involved in gardening such as connecting to nature by listening to the birds and watching wildlife.  She says the quiet environment helps those with AD (and their caregivers) to reduce their stress levels.

If you or your loved one with AD likes to garden, you may be interested in purchasing Doherty’s book by going to  The book would make a great gift for a loved one with AD or his/her caregiver.

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