Aim: To present a literature review of the positive effects and overall reduction of depressive symptoms that an intervention such as therapeutic gardening has on individuals living within memory care facilities.

Background: As most humans age, they often lose abilities or skills that they have had for their entire lives (e.g. driving, grooming, toileting, seeing and/or hearing). By implementing programs that involve therapeutic garden therapy, individuals with dementia who are at greater risk for clinical depressive symptoms may find that this alternative approach improves their symptoms.

Methods: A comprehensive, electronic, literature search in the CINAHL database was completed and included the keywords therapeutic garden, horticulture therapy, and dementia or Alzheimer's. Information has been extracted from sources based on whether they met specific inclusion and exclusion criteria and if they showed positive effects of alleviating depressive symptoms within the defined population. The literature was critically analyzed and common themes were extracted to gain a deeper understanding of the existing research and presented as a written report.

Significance: In 2018, dementia costs in the United States were upwards of $215 billion, and is said to potentially double by 2040 due to an increase in aging within the baby boomer generation (PRB, 2018). These numbers are spiking at a rapid rate which then leads to a rise in elderly individuals with dementia needing more specialized care. Memory care facilities assist with this care and are integrating newer non pharmacological ways to approach managing symptoms of dementia, such as Therapeutic Gardening.

Conclusions: This review has shown proof from multiple studies that there are a large amount of positive findings when a therapeutic gardening intervention is applied to help the dementia population. The majority of the findings were related to an increase in an overall quality of life, but there were many other changes noted in individuals receiving this therapy including, but not limited to: reduction in agitation, positive changes in behavior, physical and mental health benefits, alleviation of social isolation, and potential changes in cortisol levels.

Key words: Dementia, therapeutic gardening, depression

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Turnage, Dawn


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date