Medicineworld.org: Want more zest for life?
Subscribe To Society News RSS Feed
Want more zest for life?
Does gardening contribute to quality of life and increased wellness for elderly adults? Scientists from the Texas A&M and Texas State Universities asked these questions in a survey of people aged 50 and older. The survey revealed some compelling reasons for elderly adults to get themselves out in the garden.
Researchers at Texas A&M and Texas State found that gardening contributes to increased life satisfaction in older adults.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Tina Marie (Waliczek) Cade
A 2007 Administration on Aging report titled A Profile of Older Americans noted that one in every eight Americans is considered an "older adult" (65+ years). The older adult population is at greater risk for disease as a result of decreased levels of exercise and poor dietary and/or lifestyle choices; a combination of moderate physical activity and increased consumption of fruit and vegetables has been reported to dramatically reduce an adult's risk for a number of chronic diseases. "Gardening is one of the most popular home-based leisure activities in the United States and has been reported as the second most common leisure activity, after walking, of adults older than age 65 years", the scientists noted.
To find out more about the health and attitudes of older adult who garden, Sommerfeld and his colleagues designed a survey based on the Life Satisfaction Inventory A (LSIA), a tool that measures five components of quality of life: ''zest for life,'' ''resolution and fortitude,'' ''congruence between desired and achieved goals,'' ''physical, psychological, and social self-concept,'' and ''optimism.'' Additional multiple choice questions were asked to determine respondents' level of physical activity, perceptions of overall health and well-being, as well as to gather demographic information. The survey was posted on a university homepage for one month. Responses were gathered from 298 participants who differentiated themselves as gardeners or nongardeners by responding positively or negatively to the simple question ''do you garden?''.
The scientists found significant differences in overall life satisfaction scores, with gardeners receiving higher mean scores (indicating more positive results) on the LSIA. Sommerfeld, Zajicek, and Waliczek explained: "More than 84% of gardeners agreed with the statement, ''I have made plans for things I'll be doing a month or a year from now'' compared with only 68% of nongardeners." Significant differences between gardeners and nongardeners were also noted in the ''energy level'' statement, ''I feel old and somewhat tired''. Gardeners disagreed with the statement at a rate of 70.9%, whereas 57.3% of nongardeners disagreed with the statement.
Elderly adults who garden also reported a higher level of daily physical activity in comparison to nongardening respondents. Over three times as a number of nongardeners (14.71%) considered themselves to be "quite inactive.", while only 4.43% of gardener said the same. "Almost twice as a number of gardeners (38%) considered themselves to be "very active" compared with only 19.6% of nongardeners", noted the study.
More than 75% of gardeners who participated in the survey rated their health as either ''very good'' or ''excellent'. Gardeners also reported eating more fruit and vegetables because of their exposure to gardening. "These factors, in conjunction with higher physical activity, result in healthier lifestyles and increased quality of life", the scientists wrote.
The study presents good evidence that gardening can be an effective way for elderly adults to increase life satisfaction while also increasing physical activity. "In a time when elderly adults are living longer and enjoying more free time, gardening offers the opportunity to fulfill needs created by changing lifestyles. Gardening provides participants with opportunities to reconnect with themselves through nature and a healthy activity to enhance their quality of life", Sommerfeld concluded.
Posted by: Janet Source
Did you know?
Does gardening contribute to quality of life and increased wellness for elderly adults? Scientists from the Texas AandM and Texas State Universities asked these questions in a survey of people aged 50 and older. The survey revealed some compelling reasons for elderly adults to get themselves out in the garden.
Medicineworld.org: Want more zest for life?
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.