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The Use of Gardening in Occupational Therapy and Outdoor Kitchen Design

August 2, 2023

Donna M. Skolnick

Donna M. Skolnick


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The Use of Gardening in Occupational Therapy and Outdoor Kitchen Design

Let's face it, the USA is quickly becoming an aging population. Today, there are more than 46 million older adults age 65 and older living in the U.S. (Urban Institute "The US Population Is Aging"). As a society, we will be forced to make changes in many parts of our lives to make life easier as we age. In this article, we look at gardening as a way to better your health.

This article investigates the use of gardening as an intervention in occupational therapy (OT) practices. It examines how gardening activities can contribute to the overall well-being and therapeutic outcomes of clients. By analyzing research from various sources, including "Putting the Occupation Back in Occupational Therapy" by Amy Wagenfeld and Ben Atchison, this article explores the potential benefits of gardening as a therapeutic intervention and its implications for occupational therapists.

The study was a good first step in the process of using gardening with Occupational Therapy patients. It was a limited study and involved a pool of only 60 OT respondants.

Occupational therapy is a crucial field that seeks to enhance the quality of life and functional independence of individuals with physical, cognitive, or emotional challenges. Historically, the focus of OT has been on meaningful occupations that promote well-being, self-efficacy, and participation in daily activities. One such occupation is gardening, which can offer therapeutic benefits to individuals across various age groups and conditions. This article examines the use of gardening as an intervention in occupational therapy and the potential implications for practitioners.

Literature Review:

To establish a comprehensive understanding of gardening as an intervention in occupational therapy, this article reviews existing literature from scholarly sources. The study by Wagenfeld and Atchiso emphasizes the importance of putting the "occupation" back into occupational therapy, promoting meaningful and purposeful activities for clients. The use of gardening as a therapeutic intervention aligns with this ideology as it engages clients in purposeful activities that contribute to their overall well-being and functional abilities.

The research by Wagenfeld and Atchison explores the various benefits of gardening interventions, including improved physical health, enhanced emotional well-being, increased social interaction, and heightened cognitive function. By conducting a survey of occupational therapy practitioners' experiences with gardening interventions, the authors shed light on the efficacy of this approach.

Benefits of Gardening as an Occupational Therapy Intervention:

Gardening interventions offer numerous benefits that positively impact clients' health and well-being. This section highlights some of the key advantages:

Physical Benefits:

Gardening involves a range of physical movements such as digging, planting, and weeding, which can improve fine and gross motor skills, strength, and endurance. Engaging in these activities can be particularly beneficial for clients with physical disabilities or injuries, promoting functional independence and overall physical health.

Emotional and Psychological Benefits:

Studies have shown that gardening can have positive effects on mental health and emotional well-being. It provides a sense of accomplishment and purpose, reduces stress, and alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression. For individuals undergoing occupational therapy, gardening can be a source of joy and satisfaction, contributing to their overall treatment progress.

Social Interaction:

Gardening in group settings can foster social interactions and a sense of community. This can be especially beneficial for clients with social isolation or those who struggle with interpersonal skills. Engaging in gardening activities together can promote teamwork, communication, and mutual support among clients.

Cognitive Benefits:

Gardening involves problem-solving, planning, and attention to detail, which can enhance cognitive function. Clients with cognitive impairments may benefit from gardening interventions as these activities stimulate their cognitive abilities and help maintain cognitive skills over time.

Implications for Occupational Therapy Practitioners:

The integration of gardening as an intervention in occupational therapy has important implications for practitioners. By incorporating gardening activities into treatment plans, therapists can tap into their clients' interests and motivations, making therapy sessions more engaging and effective. OT's can even incorporate planting foods near the clients outdoor kitchen for more motivation.

Personalized Treatment Plans:

Occupational therapists should consider their clients' interests, preferences, and abilities when designing treatment plans. Incorporating gardening as a therapeutic intervention provides a personalized approach that can enhance treatment outcomes.

Holistic Approach:

Gardening as an intervention aligns with the holistic principles of occupational therapy. It addresses not only physical challenges but also emotional, social, and cognitive aspects of well-being, promoting a comprehensive and client-centered approach to therapy.

As we delve into the therapeutic benefits of gardening and the synergy it shares with outdoor kitchen design, Casa Bella Outdoor Kitchen Cabinetry emerges as a cornerstone of this holistic approach. Our premium cabinetry offers a harmonious blend of form and function, creating an inviting outdoor kitchen space that encourages both relaxation and culinary creativity. To discover how our outdoor kitchen cabinetry can enhance your outdoor therapy and design aspirations, please visit our website at www.casabellaoutdoor.com or contact us at 973-520-7114. Casa Bella Outdoor Kitchen Cabinetry is committed to promoting well-being through thoughtful design, and we're here to help you create a nurturing environment that fosters healing, creativity, and connection with nature.

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Enhance Outdoor Living Spaces:

Investing in marine-grade aluminum kitchen cabinets from Casa Bella Outdoor can help create a functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor kitchen area. These cabinets are perfect for individuals seeking to elevate their outdoor living spaces and host gatherings with ease.

Incorporating gardening as a therapeutic intervention in occupational therapy offers numerous benefits for clients' physical, emotional, social, and cognitive well-being. By embracing gardening activities, occupational therapy practitioners can promote meaningful occupations and improve treatment outcomes.

As readers explore the benefits of gardening interventions, they can also consider enhancing their outdoor living spaces with marine-grade aluminum kitchen cabinets from www.CasaBellaOutdoor.com. Planting spices and even just beautiful plants around your outdoor kitchen are sure to improve your outlook.

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Link to full article https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1128&context=ojot

“‘Putting the Occupation Back in Occupational Therapy:’ A Survey of Occupational Therapy Practitioners’

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