44 Year Study Finds that Gardening Might Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia by Almost 50%!

How Does Gardening Holistically Benefit Seniors?

When it comes to caring for those with cognitive decline, it’s vital to consider the entire person. Gardening is one of those integrated activities that provides a myriad of holistic benefits to seniors. Gardening has the potential to impact a person’s mind, emotional wellbeing, and physical condition. It’s especially advantageous for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Find out why below! 

Memory Care Community in Southern California
BayView Senior Assisted Living in Point Loma is a senior care community in Southern California. We understand that our residents’ holistic experience of life (social, spiritual, emotional, mental, physical) is incredibly important. Our compassionate caregivers provide top-notch, individualized care to each of the members of our memory care communities. 

What Can Gardening Do For Older Adults? 


Studies show that gardening reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, while increasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Research also indicates that spending time outdoors basking in sunshine and fresh air has a calming effect on the brain. While stress reduction is important at any age, seniors are especially susceptible to the negative effects of stress on the brain and body. 


Gardening is physically demanding in the best way. It has the potential to aid in fat loss through burning calories as well as help older adults build and strengthen muscle. In fact, planting seedlings and pulling weeds can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories an hour! 

Gardening requires stretching, bending, squatting, walking, and carrying – all beneficial movements for the human body. Working with plants doesn’t need to be strenuous to provide a great workout for seniors. 


A recent study published in the journal Neurology followed 800 women from 1968 to 2012. The group was at an average age of 47 when the study began and 91 when the study was concluded. Researchers discovered that several simple activities were neuroprotective against Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Over the course of the 44 year study, about 1 in 4 women developed dementia. Physical, cultural, and manual activities all reduced the risk of dementia in participants. For example, women who did intense physical exercise at least 3 hours a week halved their risk of dementia. 

Participants who practiced artistic, manual, or intellectual hobbies had a 46 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than women who weren’t as mentally active. To put it simply, knitting, reading, solving crosswords or working in the garden can protect the brain almost as much against dementia as being extremely physically active.


While it’s important to take necessary precautions when exposed to direct sunlight, spending moderate amounts of time in the sun increases Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is incredibly important for bone density, pain regulation, and cardiovascular health. Seniors who have adequate levels of Vitamin D are less likely to suffer from fractures, heart problems, and anxiety. 

Top Senior Assisted Living Community with a Holistic Approach Care 

Holistic memory care is defined as engaging a patient’s body, mind, and spirit. From knowing about a resident’s wellness to physical health to hobbies, interests, and more, caring for the whole person starts with taking the time to understand them as an individual. For those with Alzheimer’s, knowing who they were before is just as important as knowing who they are now. 

Individualized Senior Care in San Diego, California At BayView Senior Assisted Living (and at our partner locations, Mesa View Senior Assisted Living and Harbor View Senior Assisted Living) our compassionate, highly competent staff provide holistic care to each member of our memory care communities.