Citation:
Kaplan, M. 1994. Use of sensory stimulation with Alzheimer patients in a garden setting. In: Joel Flagler and Raymond P. Poincelot, eds., People-Plant Relationships: Setting Research Priorities, A National Symposium (proceedings), Hayworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NY 13904- 1580.
Abstract:

Using an established self-contained garden area and improving its function ability with raised beds, winding hard-surfaced pathways, comfortable seating areas and a garden water fountain, a trained Horticultural Therapist will direct, assist and encourage Alzheimer patients to recapture some of their pleasant early life experiences in a naturalized setting.

Old-fashioned flowers and vegetables; fragrant, textured and edible plants will help stimulate their tactile, olfactory and gustatory senses as well as their visual. The subtle trickling of water from a nearby garden fountain will also help reach these patients on an auditory level.

Planting, walking, working the soil with their hands....touching, smelling, seeing, listening, tasting....will hopefully provide a serene, non-threatening positive experience that in some way will improve their quality of life.

Short and long term goals are to help Alzheimer patients to reduce their periods of agitation and aggression.

Standardized tests, such as the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Mental Status Questionnaire (PGC) which measures cognitive functioning; the Ernst Emotional Problems Questionnaire which measures affective functioning; Nursing-Chart notes reporting behavioral changes and/or number of recorded aggressive behavior incidents (+ or -); author-designed measurements and check lists; along with the use of tape recordings of first, intermediate and final H.T. sessions recording number of social initiatives and/or interactions (+ or -) will be used in a collaborative effort to measure and assess whether Horticultural Therapy will: (1) increase verbalization (2) increase socialization (3) stimulate long and short term memory (4) improve orientation (5) improve overall affect.

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