There could be a reason why some senior citizens who care for houseplants may appear happier than others, according to a new study.
An article published in the American Society for Horticultural Science suggests the act of indoor gardening in assisted-living facilities can have a positive effect on the resident's quality of life.
The four-week study had 18 participants engage in a weekly two-hour interactive horticulture class taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist.
According to the instructors, during the course of the study the residents' mood changed from a state of "passive, lonely dependence" to being more "active, socially connected and responsible for something other than themselves."
"[T]he overall energy was positive and electric as everyone involved could not wait to see how their plants would fare," the researchers said.
The study also found the participants experienced mastery, defined as the belief that one's actions determines the outcomes in life, which some seniors may have lost in the move to an assisted-living community.
The researchers suggested that similar short-term horticultural activities could be used to help integrate new residents into assisted living communities in an effort to make them feel comfortable in their new home.