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Therapeutic horticulture as a potential tool of preventive geriatric medicine improving health, well-being and life quality – A systematic review

Anna Heród, Bożena Szewczyk-Taranek, Bożena Pawłowska
Folia horticulturae 2022 v.34 no.1 pp. 85-104
biomarkers, blood pressure, brain, cognition, decline, elderly, electroencephalography, heart rate, horticultural therapy, human health, interpersonal relationships, medicine, nerve tissue, quality of life, questionnaires, social networks, surveys, systematic review, therapeutics, Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand
The global population of older people grows systematically and with age, the physical and cognitive abilities of people decline. The amount of evidence that gardening may provide substantial health benefits and enhance the quality of ageing is increasing. This paper presents a systematic review of the therapeutic effects of horticulture and gardening on clients aged ≥60 years. It encompasses articles published in English between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2021. The literature survey shows that the interest in the topic has grown significantly in recent years as over half of the published studies are from 2019 to 2021. Most of this work was done in Asia (60%), America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The most commonly used interventions were active horticultural therapy programs or gardening, but 20% of the studies explored the passive connection of being outside. The fitness of the elderly was measured using 33 psychological tests, 32 physiological and functional parameters and different kinds of self-developed questionnaires and interviews. The most commonly used psychological tests were the Geriatric Depression Scale, Self-rated Health and Quality of Life, Mini-Mental State Examination, Friendship Scale, Lubben Social Network Scale, and the Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire. The physiological and functional parameters included heart rate variability, blood pressure, electroencephalography, brain nerve growth factors, and different types of biomarkers. The study outcomes demonstrated positive results of horticultural therapy on human health and well-being, particularly in a psychological dimension and to a smaller but still significant extent physiological aspect.