by Wendy D’Alessandro
oday, science-based research backs up what generations before us have already assumed to be true: getting your hands dirty is really, really good for your health. Gardening is a lifestyle that has been followed by my grandparents and their grandparents well into their 90s. I guess you could call it a family tradition, one that also required the wearing of ridiculously oversized wide-brimmed floppy hats. By getting their hands dirty each day, experts conclude that people like my grandparents stay socially connected with their neighbors and friends; they exercise daily, and they invigorate their minds with fresh air and sunshine. This daily practice creates what’s called a “trifecta of wellness” that benefits people of all ages. “One of the best things about gardening is that it’s adaptable for all abilities and all ages,” says Nathalie Francois, administrator at Mesa Valley Estates Senior Living and Memory
| VIEW ON MAGAZINE | July/august 2022
Care, a Mission Senior Living community that opened in Mesquite in 2018. Francois explains that Mesa Valley Estates incorporates gardening as both a design element and a lifestyle choice. The community’s outdoor courtyards offer table-top potted plants and single, raised, and multi-tiered garden beds so residents can garden standing or sitting. Pretty to look at and calming to smell, the gardens grow whatever residents fancy: red petunias, purple geraniums, fresh basil, and tomatoes. In the cool early morning hours, residents, friends, and families gather in the shaded seating areas to catch up. In Reflections, Mesa Valley Estates’ memory care neighborhood, single raised garden boxes are situated in a lovely, secure outdoor courtyard with windchimes and cozy, shaded seating areas. Team members garden alongside residents, who benefit from experiencing the sights, sounds, and textures of a garden.