Bonsai Tree Therapy – Try This!

February 24, 2017


Horticulture therapy is not a new discovery, therapeutic effects of gardening have long been known. It has helped people of all ages at all times and proved to be pretty effective for people with PTSD, autism kids and also seniors with various dementia-related issues.

This type of therapy through direct contact with nature allows people to use their senses more, and rely on them better. The smell of grass and flowers, the softness of leaves, the vibrancy of colours – all this serves as stimulation to both mind and body.

Seniors suffering from dementia-related issues and Alzheimer’s disease can benefit greatly from horticulture therapy. It is a way of dealing with memory loss as in the course of working with plants elderly people start finding it easier to communicate and express themselves.

Among useful materials that relatives of seniors affected by Alzheimer’s disease the book by Jan Hoetker Doherty A Calendar Year of Horticulture Therapy can be recommended. It is a real help-book with lots of ideas and tips how to make gardening useful and interesting for your relatives, how to benefit from garden therapy in this particular way.

For the majority of seniors fighting with dementia is a never-ending battle. One of the horticulture therapy variations that proved to be favoured by many elderly people is bonsai trees growing and grooming.

This activity represents a pretty challenging stimuli to a person as trees require time and attention and their nurturing is not something you can do without an effort.

Which is a good thing, by the way. As the activity keeps a senior’s mind occupied with the new tasks that should be handled and new skills that are being developed. And this process of acquiring new skills, as we all know, is something that moves us forward.

Why Bonsai Tree in the First Place?

For one thing it is a very specific Japanese plant and it is also a work of art. The word means exactly “tray planting”, which is quite eloquent if you have a look at a miniature tree in a tray. In Japanese culture such a tree represented a small model of nature – right here at your bed stand.

Bonsai trees are bended and twisted and they are especially grown in such a way not to exceed the size they are supposed to be. Nurturing and maintaining such a plant is time-consuming, takes effort and patience. It is also one of the simplest ways for many seniors to target their care at something and be able to see the results, feel accomplishment, fulfillment and pleasure at the process.

Get the Tree

The art of bonsai has become very popular recently and it is broadly used in horticulture therapies as well.

If you want to try it with your own senior relatives, there are several things to take into consideration.

Most common bonsai trees that are popular with garden amateurs are:

  • Juniper
  • Ficus
  • Hawaiian umbrella
  • Chinese elm

Care about It

One of the problems that seniors can face in case with some of bonsai trees is that their leaves are pretty miniature while elderly people’s eyesight is not the sharpest. This complication, however, is easy to resolve by using such simple things are magnifying glasses and additional lamps with extra lightning.

As long as most bonsai trees can be groomed outdoors, it might be unsuitable for a senior person with mobility issues. In such a case an indoor version is better. Bonsai trees do not require a great deal of watering and they are also supposed to be pruned only twice a year – in spring and autumn.

One of their best characteristics is the fact they they are not capricious and can survive a long time without water or through a period of neglect. This is great in case of seniors, especially in cases when the latter suffers from memory loss occasionally.

There is a great choice of books dedicated to the topic of bonsai tree nurture and care, so it is easy to find advice and en example from a real life.

Basically, there are 3 major stages:

  • Growing,
  • Training,
  • Maintenance.

All of them are fun to live through whole caring for your personal bonsai tree.

Horticulture therapy in general, and Bonsai tree growing in particular, is one of the most enjoyable and effective pastime for seniors. All the types of activities involved in the process of tree nurturing can do a lot of good to your elderly relative, especially if they have such unhappy problems as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is like having a pet but less demanding, and in terms of emotional impact, it is priceless.

Here are some interesting videos about Bonsai tree growing and maintenance.




Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.