Engage Magazine Winter 2023

LeadingAge California Excited to Announce Launch of GARDEN Project CMP Grant

By Lindsay Fowks, Grant Manager, and Amanda Davidson, Director of CMP Grants, LeadingAge California

In partnership with Eldergrow’s therapeutic horticulture program, LeadingAge California strives to improve the lives of residents living in skilled nursing facilities through the GARDEN Project. 

GARDEN ProjectThe California Department of Public Health has awarded a civil monetary penalties (CMP) grant of $3.9 million to the LeadingAge California Foundation to bring Eldergrow’s interactive and purposeful program to 75 skilled nursing facilities across California. This unique initiative is led by LeadingAge California in partnership with Eldergrow and senior living administrators, with the support of staff, families, volunteers, and interns.

The GARDEN Project (Garden Access Responds to Diagnosis & Environmental Needs) is an interactive and purposeful resident program that brings nature indoors with mobile, indoor therapeutic sensory gardens and a team of Eldergrow Educators who teach therapeutic horticulture classes. The project aims to reduce resident loneliness, provide a meaningful and productive therapeutic activity, reduce depression and social isolation, stimulate cognitive activity, and encourage motor skills among skilled nursing facility residents.

Therapeutic horticulture is a scientifically proven, nonpharmacological approach to wellness for residents living in a skilled nursing facility. There is extensive documentation that a cross-section of residents (including those on rehab visits, those with dementia, those on palliative or hospice care, and those facing other chronic health conditions) can benefit from interaction with nature and gardens. Eldergrow’s indoor therapeutic sensory garden coupled with the hands-on work of its Educators in partnership with facility staff, helps to alleviate behavioral issues and psychological symptoms of dementia, and improve quality of life for residents, staff, and families.

The GARDEN Project consists of Indoor Therapeutic Sensory Garden(s), a Garden Design Launch, facility staff training, 26 months of horticultural classes with an Eldergrow Educator, and Extracurricular Activity Recommendations provided to facility staff for additional engagement opportunity. 

In February 2023, LeadingAge California will outreach to all eligible skilled nursing facilities in California to recruit for the project. If you would like more information on the GARDEN project, please visit our website, or email Lindsay Fowks at lfowks@leadingageca.org