Orla Concannon, founder of Queen Anne-based Eldergrow, had a vision she couldn’t shake: the image of a seed emerging from the soil’s surface and sprouting. “I wanted to find a way to share the joy of a seed sprouting with our growing community of elders living in care facilities.”
Eldergrow offers elders living in residential and nursing care a therapeutic connection to nature through subscription-based gardening products and evidence-based activity programming.
“When I first started researching horticultural therapy, I was astounded by the benefits,” Concannon said. “I was aware of the multi-sensory affect, but I then learned that frequent gardening has been shown to reduce the risk factors for dementia by 36 percent. It improves mood, decreases heart rate and helps to prevent falls.”
Concannon developed the Eldergrow business plan while earning her master’s degree in health-care leadership at Seattle University (SU). Last June, Eldergrow won the first-place Audience Award and second-place Judges Award at the 17th-annual Harriet Stephenson Business Competition at SU. Eldergrow was also accepted into the University of Washington’s Jones & Foster program for innovative start-ups.
Aegis Living installed Eldergrow’s mobile indoor garden in its new assisted-living and memory-care community, Aegis of Queen Anne on Galer (223 W. Galer St.), which opened Saturday, Sept. 19.
Chris Corigall, vice president of enrichment at Aegis Living said, “Therapeutic horticulture provides a unique way to add value to our residents’ experience. They can continue to garden while benefitting from the therapeutic programming that Eldergrow offers.… The residents just light up when they tend to their garden.”
For more information about Eldergrow, visit www.eldergrow.org.