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Growing Horticulture Program Helps With Healthy Aging

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Whether you have a green thumb or not, gardening gets you moving and outside with nature. Doctors say you really don't have to be in good shape or young to enjoy the benefits.

Sue Souerman is collecting tomatoes from the garden at Cathedral Village.

"It's very peaceful," she said. "You can just forget, get your hand in the dirt; you can pick tomatoes; you can pick basil -- the aromas and fragrances are just wonderful."

The Horticulture Therapy program is designed for some important work.

"It really is a way to tie the community together as a whole," said Ruth MacCarthy, the director of the program.

It's for  healthy aging, keeping residents engaged and moving outside and in the greenhouse.

MacCarthy says growing and arranging flowers is part of occupational therapy, helping with movement, coordination and memory.

Cornie Walton, 84, says in addition to eating well, spending time in the garden helps keep her and her friends stay physically and mentally active.

There's  socialization with each other and nature, which includes monarch butterflies and bees.

"We have plants that butterflies and plants that insects can nectar in we know that we are doing what we can to sustain a healthy environment," said MacCarthy.

Studies have shown that gardening can help reduce depression.


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