Having plants indoors is not merely related to improving the aesthetic sense and having a beautiful ambiance. Sprucing up the indoors with greens is a good gardening idea for seniors as it has a tremendous positive impact on their health and well-being. Elderly patients are particularly benefited with their presence as it subconsciously relaxes and calms them down and even expedites the healing process. These plants are also advantageous to family members, caretakers and other healthcare professionals due to its de-stressing effect.
Various studies and research have been conducted on the relationship between indoor plants and human health. All of these suggest strong evidence that such plants improve healthcare outcomes naturally. They are also easy to maintain and affordable. Additionally, various kinds of shrubs, flowers, ornamental plants and trees also brighten up the living space and promote quick recovery.
Hence indoor plants can be kept at individual homes, healthcare units like hospitals and care facilities like assisted living. Senior care at home also encourages such initiatives by providing nursing care for elderly to pursue their daily routines and hobbies.
Benefits of Plants
- Act as purifiers – Indoor plants act as good air purifiers as they absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. They also filter other gases (like nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides), volatile organic (like benzene and formaldehyde) and tiny particles improving the air quality. By doing this, they provide clean air for breathing essentially boosting natural immunity and health. This is especially useful for seniors with breathing problems like asthma and allergies.
- Increase the humidity content – Plants naturally increase the humidity of the interiors. Many seniors suffer from skin problems and sinus due to dryness in winters. Keeping indoor plants can help in overcoming this when plants open their pores to absorbing carbon dioxide, they simultaneously release some of the absorbed water.
- Elevate the mood and relieve the anxiety – Plants placed inside provide a natural soothing environment that heightens the mood and releases stress. It is seen that senior patients who are surrounded by plants and trees are calmer and happier.
- Enhance quick recovery after surgery – Patients experience reduced stress and exhaustion, lower blood pressure levels and pains or trauma when plants are around. This natural ambiance promotes quicker healing and recovery after surgical procedures as it boosts mental health.
- Cater to specific uses – Many plants (like aloe vera) are endowed with natural ingredients that give them medicinal properties. Hence, they can be used as herbal remedies safely for several common ailments without any side-effects. Some of them (like jasmine and lavender) produce lovely smell due to their soothing and pleasant fragrance. Quite a few plants like coriander and mint are edible and can be used for cooking purposes too.
- Have tremendous therapeutic properties – Several plants that can be housed indoors can be utilized as good sources of Horticulture Therapy (HT). This therapy fosters vocational, physical and social improvements in seniors. A few plants used here are also known to combat severe behavioural and cognitive issues in patients having dementia, schizophrenia, depression and advanced stages of cancer.
Some Examples of Indoor Plants
- Violets, Peace-Lily and Chinese Evergreen – These plants have anti-allergic properties and they naturally filter allergens and air-borne particles.
- Spider plants – By adding moisture to the air, spider plants enrich the relative humidity in the room and hence prevent cold, flu and itchy skin during the cold season particularly.
- English Ivy, Dragon Tree and Asparagus Fern – The volatile organic compounds from indoor objects pollute the atmosphere causing breathing difficulties and irritable skin and eyes. Such houseplants can combat these pollutants.
- Mint and Basil – These herbs help in tackling digestive problems as they decrease stomach bloating and gas formation.
- Lavender – This purple plant is famous for its medicinal properties. It helps in lowering anxiety and stress levels.
Thus Indoor Plants are natural decorations that bestow simple and cost-effective ways to improve the well-being of seniors.