- Aging & Longevity
Research - Flowers, Happiness, and Well-being of Older People
In the article titled "Flower Gifts - How Flowers Can Enhance the Lives of the Elderly", it's pointed out that senior citizens who have a close 'relationship' with flowers are known to have positive emotional feelings and a healthy disposition towards 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 flowers 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.
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, to be admired and nurtured for emotional satisfaction. Its 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