Indoor mobile garden helps Rockwood senior residents blossom

Therapeutic horticulture class at Rockwood Retirement
COPYRIGHT 2020 KXLY 4 NEWS NOW

SPOKANE, Wash. — Being stuck inside, especially during the winter, can give us some cabin fever – itching to do something outside rather than sit inside our homes.

During this time of year, it could be especially hard for seniors living in community homes, but one program brings the outside in.

Seniors at Rockwood Retirement on the South Hill got their hands dirty with gardening. Although the weather outside is chilly and snowy, they got their fix of the outdoors from a mobile garden.

Twice a month, an educator from an organization, called Eldergrow, will join some of the residents at their mobile garden at the retirement center.

“Where should I put it? Oh, that little hole,” said Neelima June, a resident at Rockwood.

Getting wheeled toward the flowers, June and her friends get to add a plant to the garden.

“It makes me happy that I was able to get into the project,” June told 4 News Now.

It gives her and a handful of others something to do. Something to take care of.

“Just that glowy, wonderful feeling of being able to produce something meaningful and beautiful – that’s what makes me very happy,” June said.

It’s not just gardening they get to do either. They made some paper flowers on Thursday, as well.

“Makes me feel very creative. This is a wonderful time for us, for me, especially,” June said.

The gardening and the crafts they do, it gets them moving just a little bit more.

“It also is physically demanding on them as far as fine motor skills, gross motor skills, the pressure to push the soil around and those kinds of things,” said Cathi Lamoreux, an Eldergrow educator.

Going to the horticulture class also helps blossom friendships, and gets them in touch with nature. It also helps them think of the past and reminiscence, Lamoreux said.

“I have changed. I have become more involved in something that’s artistic and appeals to me, personally,” June said.

The garden is at the center all the time and residents can come visit it whenever they want.

I often hear stories about what’s been going on in the garden in between the times I’m here, and that’s really really encouraging because they’re not all just reliant on me,” Lamoreux said.

Eldergrow partners with LeadingAge Washington, who just got more money to expand the program to other senior homes in the state. You can learn more here.