It’s estimated that most people spend 87% of their time indoors; the elderly are often indoors even more than that. Studies have found that having a connection to the outside world inside our interior spaces can improve both our physical and psychological health.
The presence of plants increases positive feelings and research shows plants may help promote better health such as lowered blood pressure, less stress, and a higher pain tolerance.
For the elderly, having an indoor plant can have many benefits. Many seniors live alone and the TV is their companion. Having a houseplant requires care; it’s an opportunity for the senior to think about another living thing. Over time, the plant grows and changes; looking forward blooms or cutting a piece to root for a friend provides hope.
In an enclosed space like a home, apartment or room in a senior living facility, plants create the sense of a greater space. In fact, a study during the stay-at-home orders during the pandemic found that people who had houseplants experienced significantly less depression and anxiety.
Some options for low-maintenance houseplants that are good for seniors include:
- A spider plant. These plants enjoy a bright sunny area but can also handle low light. They produce shoots that can easily be rooted to share with neighbors or family.
- These sturdy plants grow without soil. Place the stalks in a vase with pebbles and keep some water in the bottom. The shoots grow quickly but can be trimmed.
- Christmas Cactus. These succulents provide dazzling flowers, usually in the fall or winter. Depending on the variety, blooms may be white, pink, red or even yellow. They like bright light and not too much water.
- Kalanchoe are easy to find, even in grocery store floral departments. Slow growing succulents, they have a long bloom period. They like arid environments (like our dry New Mexico air!) and a lot of light. The kalanchoe is toxic to dogs and cats, so is not a good choice for those with pets.
If your family member enjoyed gardening, landscaping or farming, perhaps a houseplant would be a fun addition. Enjoying their home and having as much independence as possible is important to the well-being of seniors. For those who begin to need some assistance to remain safely at home, FootPrints Home Care offers flexible senior home care. From light housekeeping or meal preparation; bathing, toileting or dressing; medical transportation or companionship, our trained home caregivers are here to help. They’ll even help check on a lovely houseplant! If we can be of service to you or your family member, let us know.