This was an exploratory study to investigate how gardening could enhance and strengthen the physical health, psychological well-being and social networks of older participants.
Design and participants
Qualitative research methodology was adopted in this study. Interviews were conducted on ten elderly people. In order to check and confirm the information collected in the in-depth interviews and provide more useful information for our study, four older participants and four volunteer workers were invited to join our two focus group discussions (N=8) upon the completion of the in-depth interview. Data was collected between March and July of 2004.
In this study, we found that elderly participants benefited more in their psychological well-being and the enlargement of their social networks. On the side of psychological well-being, many older participants expressed that they felt happier and it brought a greater meaning to their life. Gardening distracted them from thinking negative thoughts, and helped them set goals as well as gain achievements in life. Another significant change was their enlargement of social networks, we found that the ties between older participants and their family members were strengthened. Moreover, elderly participants made new friends during gardening with both elderly participants and voluntary workers.
Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies, Lingnan University, & Produce Green Foundation (2004). An exploratory study of the impacts on gardening to older people: Case study to "Tsuen Wan golden organic farming project" (APIAS Working Paper Series No.12). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: http://commons.ln.edu.hk/apiaswp/1/