In 2004, a team of evolutionary psychologists at Rutgers University conducted research into the health effects of flowers on the elderly. Their remarkable findings showed that flowers really do make old people feel better, helping to relieve depression and stimulate memory in the over-60s. It’s all extremely positive news.
A scientific investigation
Over 100 elderly people were split into two groups. The test group received flowers as gifts, and the control group did not. The effects of these encounters with nature in the form of a bouquet of flowers were then examined by the scientists. At the end of the six month trial, they announced three major discoveries:
- Flowers reduce feelings of depression: study participants showed a significant increase in happiness and a more positive mood when in the company of flowers.
- Flowers stimulate the memory: old people with flowers in their environment performed better in daily memory tasks and experienced more and richer personal memories.
- Flowers encourage social contact: those who received flowers reconnected with old friends and expanded their social circle with neighbours, like-minded people, and care workers.
Petals full of positivity
It's a relief to know there’s a sure-fire way to bring joy to the older people in our lives, and heartening to hear that the flower industry pulled out all the stops in the lockdown to make it easy for us to send a bouquet to elderly relatives and neighbours. Read the full paper for more information on their research findings, and if you give a cheery bunch of flowers to your grandparents, parents or family friends, share your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #funnyhowflowersdothat.