May 10, 2016 -
Imagine creating sachets of catnip for Carol Woods’ many felines, potting seedlings of milkweed to attract butterflies, sampling fresh local vegetables, visiting the Farmer’s Market in Raleigh and using recycled materials to create sun catchers or toy boats for a regatta. What do these activities have in common? All have been sponsored by “Growing Spirit,” a program designed to bring hands-on, nature-based activities to residents in higher levels of support.
It began in 2010, when residents living independently and Robin H., the Private Duty Gardener, began facilitating gardening and nature-based activities for residents in higher levels of support. Robin and the Assisted Living Coordinator held meetings with
residents to discuss what activities would be most appealing and useful. The first big project known as “10-10-10” was the brain child of Margaret H., a resident who lived in the Health Center. Despite her numerous health challenges, she wanted to participate in a worldwide tree planting project sponsored by a United Nations NGO (Greenbelt Movement). Residents in
cottages joined those in the Health Center and Assisted Living, along with staff members and a few children and grandchildren, to plant nut tree saplings Robin had secured from a northern nursery. Residents and several staff, which included administration, loved the fun and encouraged the continuing of Growing Spirit. Jen Wilson, Director of Well-Being, recommended that Carol Woods sponsor Robin and Sarah S., an occupational therapist, to attend a Therapeutic Horticulture course at the NC Botanical Gardens. Life Enrichment Coordinator Mallory W. created the Therapeutic Horticulture program and is responsible for the name, “Growing Spirit.” The committee, which includes Alli L.and Allison G. (Life Enrichment Facilitators) as well as Robin and Sarah, plans two therapeutic horticulture events every month.
All members of the Carol Woods community are encouraged to join the committee or just bring ideas to its monthly planning session. The goal is to provide individualized nature and horticulture activities that vary in type and location in order to increase a shared sense of community with the residents in higher levels of support.
--Carol Woods Resident Nancy M.