Posted on Mar 12, 2012 | Comments (0)
A study conducted in 2000 by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has shown that flowers have a positive effect on the life satisfaction and happiness in women, and the results of this study have established that flowers can actually moderate mood naturally. Upon receiving flowers, participants demonstrated exceptional gladness and gratification, with the same reaction occurring in all the age groups included in the study. In 2001, Rutgers followed up on the 2000 study by conducting the Flowers & Seniors Study, which analyzed the effects of flowers on seniors. The results of the six-month study on more than 100 participants showed that flowers had a notably profound effect on the elderly. More specific results showed that after receiving flowers:
- 40 percent of seniors, whose social circle normally included close friends and family, expanded their circle and increased social contact;
- 72 percent of seniors did very well on memory tests as compared to senior participants who did not get any flowers; and
- 81 percent of senior participants reported that their depression was reduced.
The study was conducted by internationally renowned authority, Jeanette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., in cooperation with the Society of American Florists, which contributed its expertise on flowers to the project. Dr. Haviland-Jones is a professor of psychology and Project Director of the Human Development Lab at Rutgers. The Flowers & Seniors Study was comprised of 104 participants, aged 55 to 93, with10 males and 94 females, coming from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The participants were divided into four groups - Early group, Late group, All Flowers group, No Flowers group - with members of each group placed randomly. Each group was given flowers at different time intervals during the course of the study. In order to mask the real purpose of the exercise, the flowers were given to the subjects as an expression of gratitude for participating in the study. Evaluation that followed analyzed the seniors' memory conditions, degrees of depression, and levels of social interaction in relation to how often the group participants received flowers, and when they received these. The participants were made to undergo three interviews - one initial baseline interview to gather information on demography, the participants' health conditions, levels of social support and life satisfaction, and two interviews that evaluated any change in moods and behavior. The Early group received flowers after the first interview, the Late group received flowers only before the last interview, the All Flowers group received flowers before the second and third interviews, and the No Flowers group did not receive any flowers during the course of the study, and received flowers only after the study's completion. The results showed the following:
- Seniors demonstrated improved moods and a substantial increase in the level of happiness when they received flowers, supporting the finding that flowers decreased depression.
- Participants experienced improved recent memory when they received flowers, and they performed better on memory exercises, as compared to participants who did not receive any flowers.
- Participants who received flowers re-connected with their communities, expanded their social circles, and socialized with more neighbors, with their religious community, and even with the medical staff.
The results of the study established that flowers can ease the symptoms of depression and help reinvigorate the memory as people age. The results further showed that flowers motivated seniors to expand their social spheres and increase interaction with the community. Everyday more and more seniors are confronted with the challenges that aging brings. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that during the period 2010 to 2030, the number of older people will substantially increase. The total number of seniors is projected to be at 75 million by the year 2030. This is twice the older population in the year 2000, and nearly 20 percent of the projected total population of the U.S. in 2030. As the aging population increases, we must continue to find ways to ease the difficulties that the elder members of society face. Aging is inevitable; and so are the hurdles which seniors imminently have to deal with.