Flower Power Boosts Seniors’ Well-Being
by Shane Holborn


Receiving a bunch of fresh flowers has always
been an enjoyable experience, but now scientific
research suggests, that for senior citizens,
receiving flowers can also significantly improve
health and well being.

The research, carried out by the prestigious
Rutgers University in the United States, was
conducted on 100 senior citizens over a period of
six months and found that flowers ease
depression, inspire social networking and refresh
memory as people age.

“Instinct tells us that flowers lift people’s spirits,
but their effects on seniors are especially
profound, if not surprising”, said Dr. Jeanette
Haviland-Jones, Professor of Psychology at the
Human Development Lab at Rutgers.

Specifically, the study found that flowers
decreased depression with more than 80% of
participating seniors stating that they felt a
significant increase in happiness and positive
moods when flowers were present. Flowers also
improved recent memory with 71% of flower
recipients scoring higher in everyday memory
tasks.

However, probably the most surprising survey
result was that 41% of people receiving flowers
reported that they enlarged their social circle,
beyond family and close friends, re-engaging
with other members of their
communities.

“Happier people live longer, have healthier lives
and are more open to change,” said Dr. Haviland
Jones. “Our research shows that a small dose of
nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder
for our well-being as we age”.

The seniors study builds on previous research
conducted by Rutgers University examining the
effects of giving and receiving flowers. In
addition to the benefits seniors receive, earlier
research on younger survey groups also found
that receiving flowers had an immediate impact
on levels of happiness, reinforced intimate
connections between family and friends, and
had a long-term positive effect on people’s
moods.

As the care and well being of our ageing
population becomes one of the hottest political
issues of the future, the cost of seniors’ care is
certain to be high on government’s list of
concerns. It is reassuring to know that at least a
small part in the effort of combating the negative
effects of ageing is so simple, natural and
affordable.


Resource Box: Shane Holborn is the Editor of
Australian Flower Industry magazine and part-
time freelance writer. Shane was also the
recipient of the 2005 Rural Press
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