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Houseplants increase quality of life for retirement community residents
Date:2/26/2009

LAS VEGAS, NVAs the U.S. population ages, the number of citizens moving from their own homes to assisted living or long-term-care facilities is increasing dramatically. These numbers are expected to continue rising. By 2030, the population aged 65 years and older is expected to double to more than 71 million. Quality of life becomes an important issue for older adults who will reside in retirement facilities.

An article published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology examines the impact of indoor gardening in regards to quality of life in assisted-living facilities. The results of the study, conducted by Claudia C. Collins and Angela M. O'Callaghan, find that an activity as simple as caring for a houseplant can have very positive effects on a resident's happiness.

The study measured three attributes: mastery, self-rated health, and self-rated happiness. Mastery was defined as the belief that one's actions and choices determine outcomes in life. Often, when adults make the transition from living on their own to an assisted-living or long-term-care facility, they begin to feel a loss of control in their choices and independence. This loss of mastery has a negative impact on their overall sense of health and well-being. Mastery and self-rated health have been found to be two of the most accurate predictors of the social concept of "successful aging", a concept defined as high mental and physical functioning and active engagement with life.

One known way to improve the physical or emotional status of people who have diminished control over their lives is by encouraging them to take responsibility for another individual. This "other individual" may be a person, animal, or plant.

The 4-week study involved participation by 18 residents in a weekly, 2-hour interactive horticulture class taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. The residents were given interactive lessons on the
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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