Celebrating National Gardening Week at Exemplar Health Care
26 April 2021
Over the last year, we’ve come to rely on our gardens and green spaces more than ever. All of our care homes benefit from large outdoor spaces, which provide lots of opportunities for our residents to pull out their gardening gloves and stay active outdoors.
Gardening and being outdoors helps us to keep fit and connect with others, whilst enjoying being part of nature.
This National Gardening Week, we’re sharing some of the ways that the people we support have been bringing ‘green’ into their daily lives.
Being around nature brings lots of benefits to our mental wellbeing and it’s a great way to get our dose of vitamin D.
Gardening is a natural and quick self-esteem booster. It feels great to accomplish new tasks, and gardens give you endless opportunities to learn new skills. Studies also suggest that people’s cortisol levels go down in a calm, green environment, which can reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
All of Exemplar Health Care’s homes have well-designed and accessible gardens which encourage residents and colleagues to be more active, find new garden hobbies and connect with nature.
Our gardens include social spaces, mini private gardens and multi-seasonal plantings designed to encourage people to spend more time outdoors.
This National Gardening Week, we’re taking inspiration from the people we support, to share five easy ways you can get more ‘green’ in your life.
Make it fun!
They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, so taking your activities and events outdoors is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Gardens are the ideal place for socialising and hosting group activities.
This month, residents at our Ribble View care home in Preston have been making the most of the spring sunshine with garden games.
The ladies shared: “The sun is out and shining bright, and we couldn’t resist spending the day outside. We’ve enjoyed every minute, with laughter, smiles and giggles all day.”
Walk a dog
Walking a dog is a simple task that can have lots of benefits.
As well as the physical benefits of regular walks, watching wildlife, exploring new paths and seeing other people with their dogs, is great mental stimulation.
Dogs get so excited by nature, that their enthusiasm can be contagious! One study found that 93% of dog owners said that walking their dog helps them to feel less stressed.
If you don’t have a dog yourself, offer to walk a friend’s dog or volunteer with an animal charity that’s looking for dog walkers.
Residents at our St Andrew’s Court care home in Hull have recently enjoyed an outdoor visit from Pouka. They loved walking her around the garden and playing with her on the lawn – and Home Manager, Cath, says “She will definitely be visiting again!”
Wrap up and get your steps in
The CDC recommends that everyone gets at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week – and walking is a great way to do this.
The benefits of a 30 minute stroll are almost endless – it can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, increase your mood and keep you active.
Since lockdown restrictions have eased, residents at our Otterburn care home in Birmingham have loved getting wrapped up for an afternoon walk around the local lake, and many have shared how great they feel after it.
Start a garden
The easiest way to get outside is to stay in your own back garden. Especially on days when you don’t have the energy or time, you’ll benefit from spending time in the sun without having to go too far.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced gardener, there are outdoor tasks that everyone can do – from watering plants, clearing away leaves and cutting off dead flowers, to planting beds and growing your own fruit and vegetables.
The team at our St Andrew’s Court care home in Hull have been preparing a polytunnel to grow their own vegetables and plants. Keen gardeners in the home have taken pride in building the tunnel from scratch, and choosing what they want to grow.
Explore somewhere new
Spring is a great time to get outdoors and what better way to enjoy the spring weather than through a new adventure?
There are miles of coastlines, hillsides and forests to be discovered, as well as parks, nature reserves and gardens.