Currently, the use of horticultural therapy as an alternative form of treatment is being acknowledged in our society unlike in the past. This has led to the establishment of more therapeutic gardens.
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When setting up these gardens, certain considerations should be made concerning the capturing and engaging of client’s five senses. Because of their varied and distributed clientele, modern therapeutic gardens have been customised to meet different client’s taste and preference.
Normally, these gardens are designed for people with impairments or various dysfunctions in the society. Such people include patients with Alzheimer’s disease, prison inmates, patients in hospital care facilities and physical handicapped people. Due to the need to cater for the needs of various clients, horticulture therapy programs are also availed in most health care centres.
Horticultural therapy is known to be an effective way of reliving stress for depressed individuals. However, not all horticultural practices and gardens are designed for horticultural therapies.
Some of them are meant purely for farming or demonstration purposes. In order for any horticultural practice to be considered as a therapy, it must meet three basic requirements. These requirements are specified based on clients’ goals and treatment task. Horticultural therapy clients vary in nature in that not all patients have the same disabilities or sickness.
An historical overview reveals that geriac patients were the first to use horticultural therapy. The second group to embrace this therapy constituted of individuals in nursing homes subsequently followed by people in retirement homes.
In horticultural therapy, different clients have diverse needs that must be considered. For instance, people with mental problems and mental injury are taught on the enhancement of job employment skills.
There is no defined boundary between horticultural farming and horticultural therapy. As a result, any horticultural farm can be modified to meet the requirements of a particular client.
In the therapy farms, treatment is administered through various farm activities. These include harvesting of flowers, intermixing of various plants to provide a varied view, and weeding.
Some activities like flower sorting and plant propagation are known to have a motivational impact on clients. For effective therapy results, some patients’ behaviours have to be stimulated.
This is normally achieved by adjusting the therapeutic settings in several ways, which include enhancing the proximity of the plants, organising the program activities in a scheduled manner, and clearly identifying the garden’s territories. Moreover, the garden’s setup should be appealing to the client.
Through therapeutic gardens, individuals are provided with an appealing environment, which nourishes them in numerous ways. The gardens provide isolation and comfort to those who want to avoid external disturbances. Appropriately defined boundaries enable visitors to move around the gardens without having to seek for the assistance of a guide.
The plants choice in a therapeutic garden is selected specifically to stimulate the sense of touch, smell and hearing. Furthermore, various architectural designs in the garden help to realize visual pleasures.
In this regard, some visitors recalling memory can be stimulated. In addition, their social interaction becomes enhanced. However, the presence of plants in the gardens compromises the space needed for social interaction around the gardens.
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Occasionally, horticultural therapy is fused with other treatment procedures. This ensures that the programs’ design eventually achieve their required goals.
Each horticultural program has been designed to achieve certain desired goals for a certain client. With its soothing capability, horticulture therapy is expected to cater for the needs of diverse clients.