Touchmark at Coffee Creek is a full-service retirement community and they are stepping up with the first Eldergrow garden for seniors to be planted in the Edmond/Oklahoma City area.
Tuesday, June 11 was the ribbon-cutting for the Eldergrow garden program which makes gardening year round possible for Touchmark residents who are living with dementia.
Individuals living with dementia are given the opportunity to help plant the new garden with the help of family members or under the watchful eye of Master Gardener and Eldergrow Educator Yvette Bowman and the Life Enrichment/Wellness and Health Services staff at Touchmark.
“Touchmark is incorporating Eldergrow into our Full Life programming because we have seen firsthand the benefits Eldergrow offers residents living with dementia,” said Shannon Rich-Romero, Touchmark Life Enrichment/Wellness director.
Plants can also improve the quality of our body, mind and spirit, Bowman said.
“A garden touches all five senses,” Bowman said. “Working with soil is better than Prozac as an antidepressant.”
Plants purify the air, and they can be used in crafting or for culinary purposes.
Caring for plants, digging in the dirt, and smelling/tasting herbs fresh from the garden are just a few of the numerous benefits now available to residents.
Herbs can also help in many ways, and mint is considered a standout as far as what it offers.
“Mint is important for digestion, memory, decreases nausea, soothes headaches, fights depression, helps with coughs, and aids in fighting cancer,” Bowman said.
Bowman added that education classes will be offered including garden care and garden design. If residents aren’t up for working in the soil they can make plant name tags, keep a Garden Journal, or enjoy the interaction with others who share a love for gardening.
No matter the weather outside, residents of the retirement community will now be able to experience the benefits of gardening indoors day and night. Touchmark is the first retirement community in Edmond and Oklahoma City to partner with Eldergrow and offer this unique experience.
The indoor garden box features a grow light connected to a timer that provides the optimal spectrum of red and blue light. A fan runs constantly, which keeps away pests and aids in water evaporation. A watering chart helps make sure plants are not overwatered.
Residents will tend to an assortment of plants that provide various sensory features, such as firm foliage, fuzzy leaves, edible herbs, pretty blooms and more. Twice a month, a Master Gardener and Eldergrow Educator, will lead a culinary or craft activity incorporating the plants.