Quality of Life Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1007–1014 | Cite as

Effects of horticulture therapy on nursing home older adults in southern Taiwan

  • Ya-Fang Yao
  • Kuei-Min ChenEmail author



This study aimed to test the effects of horticulture therapy on activities of daily living, happiness, meaning of life, and interpersonal intimacy of nursing home older adults in southern Taiwan.


A quasi-experimental study was applied. Eighty-five older adults aged 65 or older who lived in nursing homes in southern Taiwan were recruited conveniently. All participants completed the study: experimental group (n = 41) and control group (n = 44). The experimental group received horticulture therapy for 1 h once a week for 8 weeks, while the control group continued their routine daily activities. The following questionnaires were administered before and after the intervention period: (1) Barthel Index (BI), (2) Chinese Happiness Inventory short version (CHI), (3) Meaning of Life Scale (MLS), and (4) Interpersonal Intimacy Scale (IIS).


The BI, CHI, MLS, and IIS scores significantly improved in the experimental group (p < .05). After 8 weeks of horticulture therapy, the BI, CHI, and IIS scores of experimental group participants were significantly better than the scores of control group participants (p < .05); however, the MLS scores of two groups showed no significant differences (p = .738).


Horticulture therapy improved activities of daily living, happiness, and interpersonal intimacy of older adults in nursing homes. We recommend that nursing homes recruit and train personnel to lead horticultural therapy and to incorporate the therapy as routine daily activities in the facilities.


Activities of daily living Happiness Horticulture therapy Interpersonal intimacy Meaning of life Older adults 



Sincere appreciation is directed by our group to Professor Frank Belcastro for his superlative manuscript editing; to the directors and staff of seven nursing homes for their support and assistance; and to the 85 wonderful older adults for their generous participation.

Author contributions

All authors meet the criteria for authorship and have approved the final article, and all those entitled to authorship are listed as authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

IRB approval

The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital (KMUH-IRB-20140044).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sunflower Nursing HomePingtung CityTaiwan
  2. 2.College of NursingKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan

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