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East County Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 3 years ago

Local memory garden earns award

Windsor Reflections presented 'Happiest and Healthiest Garden Award.'
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Windsor Refections Sales Director Sam Lefebvre had watched with interest as a resident with dementia touched the soft leaves of a geranium in the memory-care center’s Eldergrow garden.

“She started talking about a black velvet dress out of the blue,” Lefebvre said, noting such tactile experiences are meant to stimulate memories for its memory-care patients. “At first I thought (horticulture therapy) was a sweet idea, but then I actually saw the purpose behind the program.”

At Windsor Reflections, the garden has brightened the lives of its memory-care residents, even earning the “Happiest and Healthiest Garden

Award” from Eldergrow, an organization that offers therapeutic gardening enrichment programs to senior citizens in residential and nursing care communities. Windsor Reflections residents celebrated the award Jan. 24 with a special party.

The garden was selected best of 96 Eldergrow gardens across 19 states.

“We were pretty excited,” Lefebvre said. “Our residents take a lot of pride in the garden. They each have a specific job daily where they water and care for it.”

Windsor Reflections opened its Eldergrow garden, a planter on wheels that uses grow lights for sunlight, in July 2017.

As part of the Eldergrow program, an Eldergrow educator comes to Windsor Reflections twice monthly for horticulture therapy. Residents work with plants and also do activities, such as making a meal using some of the herbs in the garden or some sort of craft. In January, they made a winter salad using fresh mint from their garden, as well as almonds, cranberries and bok choy.

Residents also have daily tasks they share, such as watering and pruning plants and tilling the soil.

Windsor Reflections Life Enrichment Coordinator Chris Shinholster said about 20 of 57 residents regularly participate in the program.

“It gets them socializing,” Shinholster said. “One resident didn’t talk much, but when it came to gardening, she would talk about how she would garden when she was growing up. It made her come out of her shell.”

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