BRICK, NJ—Residents at Willow Springs Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Brick Township are embracing their inner green thumbs, thanks to the skilled nursing facility’s new partnership with Eldergrow. The Seattle-based company brings nature indoors with mobile gardening programs designed to promote hands-on enjoyment and learning.
At Willow Springs, Eldergrow’s therapeutic horticulture garden program combines a sensory garden full of colorful and fragrant plants with in-person enrichment classes. The bi-monthly classes—on topics ranging from horticulture to culinary to garden arts—are facilitated by Eldergrow educators, who also assist with garden maintenance.
“Many Willow Springs residents have a lifelong love of gardening and are now delighting in the opportunity to spend time enjoying the mobile garden and participating in the therapeutic horticulture classes,” said Pam Montemurno, regional director of market development at Marquis Health Consulting Services, which supports Willow Springs and was instrumental in facilitating the Eldergrow partnership. “Eldergrow is a perfect example of how life enrichment activities can promote both wellness and fun.”
Therapeutic horticulture is shown to offer significant mental and physical health benefits for seniors, including reducing depression and improving balance, among numerous others. In a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health, scientists reported that planting and cultivating a garden can “improve brain nerve growth factors related to memory, and can improve functioning in the hippocampus—which is critical for memory—and cortical regions of the brain.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Willow Springs for this new program,” said Eldergrow’s founder and CEO Orla Concannon. “Therapeutic horticulture supports Willow Springs’ focus on programming aimed at boosting physical and mental wellness for residents by bringing nature—and its many benefits—indoors all year long.”
Willow Springs’ reputation for quality care and services is well established. The facility was recently named one of the nation’s top skilled nursing facilities in Newsweek’s “America’s Best Nursing Homes 2023” and maintains a five-star rating for quality measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).