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How Flowers Affect the Elderly - Recent Study

Updated on May 25, 2020
viryabo profile image

The elderly are always happy to see flowers. I’ve always wondered why. My research on this enlightened me on why it also improves well-being

Recent research on the effects of fresh flowers on humans has pointed out that senior citizens who have a close 'relationship' with flowers are known to have positive emotional feelings and a healthy disposition towards other people and life in general.

This is because the impact of flowers on them is one that elicits happiness, endurance, and cheerfulness.

The article also mentions that the research and study that lead these revelations was carried out by a team led by Professor Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., professor of psychology, at Rutgers in 2001.

The Society of American Florists worked in conjunction with Rutgers study group to bring its expertise of flowers into the study.The study was conducted through a six month period, and its participants were made up of:

  • 94 women
  • 10 men

Effects Of Flowers: Study Methods Adopted

This article describes the process of this interesting 'flowers research' on seniors', the study methods adopted and applied, how and why the conclusions were made.

Four Study Groups

The 104 seniors that were participants in the research were chosen from different ethnic groups, backgrounds, and environments, and their ages ranged from 55 to 93 years.

They were split into groups where some received flowers and some did not. In order to avoid distorted or biased results, none of the participants knew the purpose of the flower study.

Groups were formed and each participant in each group was made to keep a personal log to record their daily social contacts and recent social outings and events. The journals included data of daily and weekly contacts with friends, family, doctors, neighbours, household helpers, religious friends, and churches.

To begin with, a series of three interviews were planned. The first interview (baseline) was for collating data based on the senior's health status, lifestyle, social support, moods and demographic information.

The next set of interviews were aimed at testing and measuring the changes in moods, behaviours, feelings and general health conditions of each senior citizen.

The participating seniors were split into 4 groups as follows:

The Early Group received a flower bouquet once, immediately after an initial baseline interview. They had the flowers in time for a second interview.

The Late Group received their flower arrangement once and before the last interview. These participants had their flowers in time for the third interview.

The All Flowers Group received flowers two times, once before the second interview and one before the third.

The No Flowers Group got one flower bouquets after the study was concluded. They were given no flowers throughout the six-month study.

After three interview sessions that lasted six months, the seniors were then tested daily on their personal memories, what they remember about the flowers, any daily social contacts, and recent social events.

These results were then compared with the daily logs they had complied over the six month period.

Impressive Results

Scores were given based on how specific, how accurate and how detailed the answers given by the senior citizens' were. All were based on:

  • The number of times the seniors in each group received flowers.
  • At what point in the research that they were presented with flowers.
  • Changes in behaviour, their moods, and feelings.

Predictably, the all-flowers group was the happiest of all the study participants. There were more smiles and less depression was observed, much more than from those who collected flowers after the study.

And when the participants were tested for more detailed recalls of their flowers and book entries, the most profound results of the flower therapy appeared. It showed that those who got the most flowers and received them in the early stages of the study demonstrated the best-retained memory. The Rutgers researchers discovered that flower recipients in the research experiment experienced a mood and spirits elevation that lasted for a number of days.

Quoting Dr. Haviland-Jones“, head of the study team, "Common sense tells us that flowers make us happy. Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well-being.” She concluded thus, "Happier people live longer, healthier lives and are more open to change. Our research shows that a small dose of nature, like flowers, can do a world of wonder for our well-being as we age."

Overlooked Benefits Of Flowers

The Rutgers senior citizens and flowers study gives us a clearer picture of our floral companions and shows us how flowers and its benefits have been generally overlooked, probably because they are so natural and beautiful, we feel that's what creation meant them to be.

Our pets of the plant world are to be admired and nurtured for therapeutic and emotional satisfaction. The benefits have, for the most part, been totally ignored in literature and talk about people and plants.

What we now know is that perhaps people might be the reason that flowers exist. Another wonder of creation meant for our use, and most especially for the happiness and well-being of our senior citizens.

© 2011 viryabo


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    • profile image


      4 months ago from India

      loved it

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thank you for visiting Coffeequeeen.

      Indeed, I didn't realise the importance and beneficial aspects of flowers in our lives until a few years ago. I just know I've always loved them all my life.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      I agree, flowers can indeed have a very powerful effect on peoples happiness. I love flowers, we have them in my Church and they are so pretty and smell lovely.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      The benefits are powerful indeed Glenn. One book even describes flowers as "Angels of nature". I now pay them more attention, now that I know.

      Thanks for the visit.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is an interesting study of how flowers have a positive effect on the moods and feelings of senior citizens. I never gave much thought to the powerful benefits of different kinds of flowers. I always just thought of them as a nice gift. But now I know more.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much for the visits @Lady_E You are truly appreciated.


    • Lady_E profile image


      5 years ago from London, UK

      Just saw this tweeted and came back to read it again. Rated again too. :-)

    • Lady_E profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting Study to read about. Also, flowers naturally bring good karma. They bring good energy and have healing/happiness qualities...which is why, even when people visit sick people in hospitals, they naturally take flowers.

      Happy Weekend. :-)

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hi G,

      Thank you so much for the beautiful comments. As soon as i also realised the benefits of flowers being presented to senior citizens, i've made it a point of duty to spread the news around, to all my friends and relations.


    • GPAGE profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Viryabo!!! LOVE lovely.....pretty pics too!!....I used to bring my gramma flowers all the time and remember her face when she saw them! It was as if the light in her eyes went to full flame! Her smile was so big!! I loved to see her so happy! The study here is so interesting! Just think how a bunch of flowers can make a senior citizen so much happier.....even for a few days.....Thank you for writing something that is close to my heart....I have had so much experience with the elderly. Especially in my family....Best, G

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thanks for your nice comments cwarden.

    • cwarden profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      What a wonderful study. I hope everyone that reads this goes out and buys some flowers for the seniors in their life!

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hello Denise, Thank you for visiting.

      I've been away for a few days, so i missed your very nice comments.

      Thanks and GodBless

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      It's no wonder that the seniors working with the flowers felt better-they are beautiful. I know how my mood changes when I have flowers for myself. :) Very nice hub, V. :)

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Thank you Becky.The fact that flowers give us more than we are even aware of is awesome.

      Thank you for visiting Becky, cheers.

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Virybo, I can see the relation in things of natural beauty such as flowers, mood elevation and feeling happy. I enjoyed reading your Hub; you did a great job detailing the association between flowers, mood and happiness. Thank you for another awesome Hub.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Hello Stephanie.

      It is good to know that flowers benefits us in more ways than we realise, isn't it?

      Its great to know that they make beneficial gifts for the elderly. Makes deciding about gifts so much easier.

      Thanks for your nice comments Stephanie.


    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      9 years ago from USA

      I love flowers and can certainly relate to the association between flowers and elevated happiness, though I didn't know that there had been studies done. I pick fresh flowers from my garden often to brighten up my spaces and hope that someone will send me flowers often if I'm ever in a nursing home! Thanks for an informative Hub!


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