According to a 2021 research review on the impact of gardening in dementia treatment, exposure gardening activities has shown many benefits for the dementia population. Some of these benefits include reduction in depression and aggressive behaviors, an increase in engagement, improved mood and an increased sense of purpose.
Studies have shown that the act of being in nature reduces the levels of cortisol and saliva amylase — both biomarkers for stress in the body — further supporting gardening’s positive impact on health.
And though it can’t cure dementia or reverse the effects of aging, gardening is an activity that provides tangible results. Plants grow and fruits can be harvested.
Tasks can be completed, and a sense of accomplishment often comes with time spent weeding or seeing a flower bloom. For many kūpuna it has the added benefit of bringing back memories of past gardens tended.
Gardening activities can include simple tasks like watering and weeding to simply wandering through the pastoral setting and enjoying peaceful moments. Though more
research needs to be done on its effect, the consensus is that the life of a kupuna can continue to blossom through gardening.