Researchers from Italy undertook a review of 16 quantitative studies looking at the value of visiting gardens and taking part in horticultural therapy.
They found that 14 of these studies reported ‘significant improvements’ for people with dementia, particularly in relation to behaviour, engagement, agitation, falls, stress, mood, cognition and quality of life.
The research team highlighted that as well as benefiting people with dementia, therapeutic gardening is also suited to those who are ageing in general, particularly those who suffer from mood disorders which have a strong impact on life quality.
‘Providing safe ways for them to spend time in contact with nature and restorative gardening activities is a relatively easy way to prevent or contain these problems,’ they said.
While calling for more empirical evidence about the benefits of therapeutic gardens, the researchers concluded: 'Our findings directly support the efficacy of therapeutic gardening in improving different areas of wellbeing in people with dementia. They also indirectly support theories on environmental restoration and the beneficial effects of contact with nature for human wellbeing.’