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Eldergrow, a Seattle-based company that brings nature indoors to elders in senior living communities, is the centerpiece of a Federal Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) grant awarded to the Idaho Health Care Association. The Initiative, named the GARDEN Project, will reach the needs of communities of elders in living in Idaho Health Care’s member communities across the state through indoor therapeutic gardening. There will be 43 communities that will take place in this grant with a total number of 64 gardens across the state of Idaho.

Idaho Health Care Association is Idaho’s premier association for Idaho’s health care facilities and represents accessible health care that meets the needs of residents in the area. Robert Vande Merwe, Executive Director of Idaho Health Care Association had this to say “Partnering with Eldergrow on the GARDEN Project matches our organization’s commitment to providing our members with the support they need to improve the quality of care and life for  their residents.”

Eldergrow’s Therapeutic Horticulture program includes an indoor, mobile garden filled with a variety of plants that give residents the opportunity to engage in sensory stimulation activities and reminiscing. The program also includes an Eldergrow Educator who conducts ongoing interactive nature-based classes and garden maintenance.

The indoor garden is constructed in partnership with a job training program that employs and trains veterans and adults living with disabilities. The gardens include a custom grow light and wheels that mobilize the garden.

“We are thrilled to grow in this partnership with Idaho Health Care Association,” said Orla Concannon, Eldergrow’s CEO and Founder.  “Any association willing to go above and beyond by innovating for their members is an association with whom we want to grow. Idaho Health Care Association truly works toward the best and provides the most innovative wellness programs for its members and residents.”

The value that Eldergrow brings to these communities is more than simply a garden club. Studies have shown that therapeutic horticulture reduces depression, improves self-esteem, improves balance, coordination, and endurance, and can lower the risk factors for dementia by 36%.

The CMP grant is making it possible for Idaho Health Care Association and Eldergrow to enhance the lives of hundreds more elders living in skilled nursing facilities. With rollout beginning in June with Meridian Meadows Transitional Care in Meridian, Idaho, these therapy gardens will be an exciting opportunity for the elders living in residential communities across Idaho.

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