Gardening goes indoors folks at nursing facility

MONTESANO — With the world indoors due to COVID-19, Montesano Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center is partnering with a Seattle-based therapeutic gardening company to keep their residents connected to nature. Eldergrow offers programs to seniors in residential and skilled nursing communities and now has two partnerships on Grays Harbor with the November 2020 adoption of the program at Pacific Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hoquiam.

The pandemic has kept many people indoors, and less active, for most that means gained weight or lost motivation, for older residents of assisted living facilities, inactivity can mean loss of mobility, motor skills, or worse. Eldergrow’s gardens consist of a six-inch deep pan filled with soil that sits at table height and under a grow light. The units are equipped with a timer and a fan to remove some maintenance. The gardens do not need their own light, but of course benefit from more light.

“In this unprecedented time, it brings us comfort that our residents can safely interact with nature throughout their days,” says Administrator Amad Nazifi. “Eldergrow and our incredible staff now make that possible.”

Through grant funding from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Montesano Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center this week received an Eldergrow indoor therapeutic sensory garden and therapeutic horticulture program. Through this new partnership, Montesano residents are now able to nurture a lush indoor garden from the safety of their community.

The program cites studies show that therapeutic horticulture reduces depression, improves balance, and lowers the risk factors for dementia by 36%.

Montesano Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center will maintain their garden and therapeutic program with the help of Eldergrow Educators who conduct bimonthly classes with residents.

“We are excited to start our new partnership with Montesano Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center,” Says Eldergrow’s CEO and Founder, Orla Concannon.

DAVE HAVILAND THE DAILY WORLD Eldergrow gardens feature a grow light and fan, and sit in a 6-inch bed on wheels that is at table height for residents of most capabilities.
DAVE HAVILAND THE DAILY WORLD From left to right, Eldergrow Program Administrator Catherine Booth explains some of the procedures to Director of Therapy Bobbie Cheville.