In a world where our aging population continues to grow, finding effective ways to improve the well-being of older adults is crucial. A recent systematic review published in Frontiers in Public Health has shed light on the power of horticultural therapy as a potential remedy for depression symptoms in this demographic. This therapeutic practice harnesses the healing properties of plants, gardens, and gardening activities to enhance physical, mental, and emotional health.
Study Details: The comprehensive review analyzed 13 studies involving older adults with depression, exploring the effects of horticultural therapy on their well-being. The results unveiled promising outcomes, particularly for individuals participating in these activities in care-providing settings over a period of 4-8 weeks. The therapy showcased a significant reduction in depression symptoms, offering a non-pharmacological alternative to traditional treatments.
Drawback of Medication: While pharmacological interventions have long been the go-to approach for treating depression, the side effects associated with antidepressant medication have fueled the search for alternatives. Horticultural therapy has emerged as a promising contender, having demonstrated positive outcomes among various populations, including those with dementia, schizophrenia, and depressive symptoms.
Point to Ponder: However, it's important to note that the majority of studies analyzed in this review were conducted in East Asian countries. Therefore, the cultural context and its influence on the therapy's effectiveness in other regions warrant further exploration.
The More is Better: The findings highlight the importance of engaging in participatory activities, such as planting and gardening, within horticultural therapy programs. These active experiences yielded greater reductions in depression symptoms compared to observational activities like walking through gardens.
Furthermore, the study emphasizes that care-providing settings fostered higher therapeutic effects, reinforcing the significance of creating conducive environments for older adults to reap the benefits of horticultural therapy.