October 15, 2013

Gardeners of Greater Cleveland lend green thumbs to Joseph’s Home to install and maintain therapeutic garden

Joseph’s Home residents have received untold health benefits from a therapeutic garden planned and installed by the Gardeners of Greater Cleveland from 2008 to 2009. Since helping install the garden, volunteer Bob Rensel returns to Joseph’s Home throughout the year to tend to plants and consult with Joseph’s Home staff and residents about how to care for all landscaping and gardening around the building.

“Our lot is not spacious, and the layout of the building definitely restricts our options. But thanks to Bob’s service and leadership, Joseph’s Home has become a very pleasant place to spend time outdoors,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Georgette Jackson. “And the garden is heavily used by our residents.”

Medical professionals have long recognized the negative health impact of stress. Stress can cause or aggravate a wide range of conditions common among Joseph’s Home residents: hypertension, heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, depression and gastrointestinal problems.

“Research has shown that experiencing nature lowers blood pressure, breathing rate and heart rate,” said Rensel. “Nature has a calming effect on the nervous system, reduces stress, bolsters the immune system and helps heal.”

Rensel is a gardener for the Cleveland Botanical Garden with certification from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Healthcare Garden Design program. The Gardeners of Greater Cleveland is a club for individuals who share an interest in gardening. The club carries out similar garden projects at other area non-profit organizations, bringing the benefits of nature to as many people in need as possible.

This article appeared in the most recent edition of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Click here to read the complete newsletter. Joseph’s Home is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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