Effects of horticultural therapy on elderly' health: protocol of a randomized controlled trial.
BMC Geriatr. 2017 Aug 29;17(1):192
Authors: Chan HY, Ho RC, Mahendran R, Ng KS, Tam WW, Rawtaer I, Tan CH, Larbi A, Feng L, Sia A, Ng MK, Gan GL, Kua EH
BACKGROUND: Due to a rapidly ageing population in the world, it is increasingly pertinent to promote successful ageing strategies which are cost-effective, easily accessible, and more likely to be acceptable to the elderly. Past research associates exposure to natural environments and horticultural therapy (HT) with positive psychological, social and physical health benefits. This Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is designed to evaluate the efficacy of HT in promoting Asian elderly' mental health, cognitive functioning and physical health.
METHODS/DESIGN: 70 elderly participants aged 60 to 85 years old will be randomized to participate in either the active horticultural therapy group or be in the waitlist control. Sessions will be weekly for 12 weeks, and monthly for 3 months. Mental health will be assessed through self-reports of depressive and anxiety symptomatology, life satisfaction, social connectedness and psychological well-being, collaborated with immunological markers. Outcome measures of cognitive functioning and physical health include neuropsychological tests of cognitive function and basic health screening. Outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 3 months and 6 months post-intervention.
DISCUSSION: This RCT comprehensively investigates the efficacy of a non-invasive intervention, HT, in enhancing mental health, cognitive functioning and physical health. The results have tremendous potential for supporting future successful ageing programs and applicability to larger populations.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02495194 . Trial registration date: July 13, 2015. Retrospectively registered.
PMID: 28851276 [PubMed - in process]