Horticultural therapy in dementia care: a literature review

Nurs Stand. 2016 Jan 20;30(21):41-7. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.21.41.s44.


Aim To present a narrative review of the empirical literature on the use of horticultural therapy in dementia care. Method A comprehensive literature search, conducted in December 2014, resulted in the selection of 15 primary research articles for review. Of these, three used qualitative methods, five used quantitative methods and seven used mixed methodology. The articles were critically appraised, and the narrative synthesis used a thematic approach whereby prominent themes from the articles were grouped to form representative themes. Findings Three main themes emerged from the narrative synthesis: the emotional health of people living with dementia, their perceived self-identity and their levels of engagement. Conclusion Horticultural therapy can be beneficial. At a macro-level, it is an inexpensive therapy that does not require specialist training to deliver. At a micro-level, it enhances the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Recommendations are made to promote access to appropriate horticultural therapy for people living with dementia, and for further research in this area.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; garden therapy; gerontology; horticultural therapy; non-pharmacological interventions; older people; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Horticultural Therapy / methods*
  • Horticultural Therapy / psychology
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • United Kingdom