Grand Village Nursing Home Therapeutic Garden: Healing Through Nature
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The United States is aging. Baby boomers are getting older and the elderly population is on the rise. As people age many develop diseases and can no longer care for themselves. Lots of people joke about "sending mom and dad to live in a home," but it is no joking matter. The move to a nursing home can be traumatic. Residents have a major lifestyle change when they move into a nursing home. They go from living successful independent lives to living in a small room possibly with a roommate, having their meals picked out for them, and frequently they are bored, depressed, and lonely. Even while living in a high quality nursing home with planned activities, many residents spend a large amount of time staring out windows, watching television, or simply doing nothing. This is not the kind of life they want or deserve. Nursing homes provide care and housing for elderly people who can no longer care for themselves. But the nursing home environment can feel more like a hospital than home and life in one can be difficult. It is difficult for residents to live in a hospital-like environment where life can be mundane and lonely. It is difficult for staff to care for and watch residents as they live out their last few years. And it is difficult for family and friends to visit their loved ones and see them sick and lonely. To make life in a nursing home healthier it has to be more like a home for residents. A home where people make their own decisions, work, and have fun. Healing gardens put these activities back into nursing home residents lives. Gardens have the ability to give residents back confidence, strength, and friends. And happier healthier residents result in happier staff and families. Healing gardens are a fairly new concept, but their popularity is currently growing in the health care industry. More and more the benefits from involving nature in the lives of patients are being observed in hospitals and nursing homes. Patients with access to or views of natural outdoor spaces are less irritable, require less medication and supervision, and are all around happier than patients with no outdoor views or access to nature. Patients are not the only ones benefiting from healing gardens. Staff and visitors use the gardens as places to visit with loved ones, be by themselves and think, or simply grieve. This capstone project investigates how properly designed outdoor spaces can affect the lives of patients, staff, and visitors at the Grand Village Nursing Home. And states what is needed in Grand Village's gardens and outdoor spaces to make them the most beneficial to patients, staff, and visitors.