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Hospice Patients Can Benefit From the Power of Houseplants

Who knew houseplants packed such a healthy punch? Nature has been known to benefit mental health, but hands-on gardening hasn’t really been used as part of hospice care until recently. Not only do plants clean and oxygenate the air, they have a calming effect on patients and lower stress and anxiety levels. They can even improve cognitive functioning, which is especially heartening to those suffering from dementia. If you’ve never thought of the benefits of house plants in hospice, you’ll want to read on. You will be amazed at the benefits of plants as part of end of life care in San Francisco and elsewhere.

Houseplants do much more than just look good and freshen up the air. They also eliminate harmful toxins. In fact, NASA research shows that houseplants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent, reduce stress levels and boost your moods.That last one — improvement in mood — is especially important to patients and families going through hospice care. This can certainly be a stressful time for all. An indoor garden can be a refuge, a source of great joy. By introducing plants into the home or hospice setting, your loved one may begin to notice improvements in their overall happiness. This makes the space more soothing to live in, helping alleviate loneliness and depression. Caring for a living thing provides us with a purpose, rewarding us with its beauty when it blooms and thrives.

Benefits of Plants on Mental and Physical Health

There are many mental and physical health benefits provided by houseplants, which is why so many hospices have gardens for patients and visitors to look at or gather in. The value of plants for hospice patients include these benefits for chronically ill and dying people. Plants can:

  • Clean and oxygenate the air, leading to less chance of respiratory discomfort from conditions such as asthma or COPD. This is because plants filter pollutants from the air.
  • Have a calming effect on patients, lowering stress and anxiety levels, along with heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Improve cognitive functioning, specifically in relation to the ability to remember and focus.
  • Lower pain levels for those who regularly interact with and care for plants.
  • Increase confidence and self-esteem.
  • Add beauty to a patient’s room.

Houseplant Suggestions

Having a few houseplants in the home is is healthy for every human being, as they purify the air and provide emotional and visual gratification. When it comes to hospice care, these benefits can be experienced and enjoyed by patients and their families as well. In many ways, it gives the ill or elderly person a purpose. Oftentimes, the elderly feel very alone. They’ve spent their whole lives caring for others: spouses, children, pets, etc. Now they are on their own, and a houseplant can fulfill their nurturing instincts without too much responsibility or physical demands.

If you are looking for a new addition to the room of your loved one, try these houseplants:

  • Aloe Vera: A beautiful and useful succulent, this plant is easy to care for. Bonus: the juice can be used to help heal cuts, abrasions and skin irritations. You’ll need bright light and sandy soil for this plant to thrive.
  • Peperomia: A light-weight plant, this can easily be kept on a narrow windowsill or small bedside table. It’s beautiful and heart shaped, with textured leaves and spiky appendages. You’ll need low light and dry air for this plant to thrive.
  • Mother-in-laws Tongue: This is a hardy plant that will survive pretty much anything. It’s big, though, and will need to be placed in a floor pot. It can be toxic, so if your loved one suffers from dementia or if young children come to visit often, keep them supervised. You don’t need much water or fertilizer to keep this plant going.
  • Cast Iron Plant: A slow-growing plant, this is ideal for a dim corner. It just needs water, some light, and average potting soil.
  • Pothos Ivy: One of the top air purifying houseplants, pothos ivy is a great choice for many. However, if ingested, it can cause vomiting, nausea and irritation in children and pets, so it’s best to hang this one out of the way. It needs regular water, indirect light, and a spot to rest its roots, planting in average soil. You’ll also have to keep the vines trimmed back so they don’t grow out of control.
  • Spider Plant: A hanging basket plant, the spider plant has overflowing vines with “baby spiders” growing from longer trailing vines. It needs more sunlight than the average plant and needs to be watered frequently during warm weather.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

To learn more about our hospice program and how we help improve the quality of life for our patients, please call us now at 888-978-1306.