Sierra View Homes sows community with Eldergrow program

Sierra View Homes Retirement Community grows residents’ access to nature through indoor therapeutic horticulture program

On Feb. 22, Sierra View Homes Retirement Community kicked off the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Therapeutic Horticulture Program thanks to the Seattle-based company Eldergrow.
Mid Valley Times Staff
Published March 5, 2024  • 
1:00 pm

REEDLEY – Sierra View Homes residents are cultivating beauty and a sense of community in Reedley through a new indoor garden.

Residents of the local retirement community kicked off a new program on Feb. 22 and will get to watch their efforts bloom throughout the months to come thanks to Seattle-based company Eldergrow and its Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Therapeutic Horticulture Program. With this new program, residents tend to an indoor garden that all can contribute to and enjoy. 

“It brings us gratitude that our residents can safely interact with nature throughout their days,” Ro Linscheid, Sierra View Homes executive director, said in a press release. “Eldergrow and our incredible staff now make that possible.” 

Eldergrow provides education and indoor gardening opportunities to older adults, specifically those living in memory care facilities and retirement communities.

According to its website, Eldergrow offers “residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias a connection to nature that supports meaningful engagement through evidence-based therapeutic horticulture classes.” 

Linscheid said Sierra View Homes got started with Eldergrow after it initially applied to a grant program through the California Association of Health Facilities. While Sierra View Homes did not receive the grant, the program was expanded so more people could participate, and the Sierra View Homes Auxiliary — a fundraising and volunteer group — purchased the program for the retirement community.

The program that Sierra View Homes is participating in includes a DIY indoor garden that residents tend to, monthly deliveries of new plants and access to an online activities portal that features instructional videos and different project ideas, Linscheid said. 

To get started, Eldergrow sent Sierra View Homes an indoor planter box that is about 6 feet long by 4 feet wide and includes grow lights on top to facilitate plant growth. Linscheid said residents received dirt to fill up the box and plants to plant, which they did in the last week of February. 

The plants vary in type, and some are flowering plants and herbs that residents will later be able to harvest. Residents are taking turns watering the garden, which sits in the Sierra View Homes dining room where everyone can watch the garden grow, Linscheid said. 

“It’s a focal point; it’s a place where people can talk about the plants, look at the plants,” Linscheid said. “There’s a lot of ownership of the program.”

According to the press release, studies have shown that therapeutic horticulture can reduce depression, improve balance and lower risk factors for dementia by 36%. 

“This is easily a reflection of the innovative wellness that the community provides to their residents, because if you have a healthy garden, you know you have a healthy community,” Orla Concannon, Eldergrow CEO and founder, said in the press release.

Mid Valley Times Staff