The sight of lush greenery and sounds of vibrant nature is synonymous with everyone living in Singapore.
Stepping out of our house and we are almost certain to be greeted by the corridor gardens of our neighbours; some a complicated green mess while others, a colourful, tenderly curated fruits of labour. As we exit the lift, the neighbourhood park is within sight, with tall trees softening the otherwise harsh, concrete facade of the estate.
With the calming effects of greenery widely acknowledged, it comes as no surprise that gardening too, is recognised for its therapeutic effects on the mind and body. This is particularly so for our elderly, as it is not only a form of exercise, but also an activity that allows them to forge new friendships within the community.
Gardening is a very engaging activity for the individual, as it stimulates at least four of our senses:
- Sight: We see the medley of colours and the growth of the plants.
- Smell: We smell the raw scent of vegetation and compost, and the whiff of fragrant flowers.
- Sound: We hear the buzzing of insects and the soft crunch of soil.
- Touch: We feel the rough surface of the curry leaves and the smooth skin of a ripe cucumber.
As an activity very popular among the elderly, we have seen community gardens sprouting around the heartlands. Aunties and uncles donning wide-brimmed hats chatting enthusiastically with each other, as they tend to their plants, is a familiar sight in our neighbourhoods.
Gardening was part of the daily life during the kampong days, an activity which reminds our elderly when life was simpler, bringing with it a comforting sense of familiarity. It also shows the nurturing characteristics of the gardener, in addition to giving him a sense of purpose and satisfaction when his efforts are rewarded with the growth of nature.
With NParks’s recent Gardening with Edibles programme, this is an opportunity for our elderly to begin their growing journey if they haven’t already.
The Home hopes to bring this experience to the residents as well! When the new building is completed next year, a rooftop garden awaits them. There can be gardening activities for them or the elderly can just simply enjoy the scenery. It is bound to be an area filled with the growth of not only new plants, but happiness as well.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of St. John's Home for Elderly Persons.
St John's Home for Elderly Persons is not a government-subvented Home and depend largely on the public's generosity to enable us to continue our work as a Registered Charity.
Please support our Home by donating generously: https://www.giving.sg/stjohnshomesg