Assisted living directorWaterford Park, Maryland
Trees Replace Turf and Raise Quality of Life for Seniors
When Robin Rich arrived to work at the Jenkins Senior Living Community, she saw emptiness in the 25 acre treeless campus. Robin says her job was "to do whatever was needed to bring a positive quality of life for the residents." She quickly realized that the lack of trees was a missing ingredient in the lives of the facility's 400 elderly residents.
The Catholic Charities of Baltimore then applied for and received funds from the U.S. Forest Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Baltimore's Parks and People Foundation helped with the planting and grateful residents assisted with logistics and provided refreshments for the volunteers.
Today, 300 trees are beginning to shade 20 acres of the campus. Robin says it has become "an oasis of coolness in the summer." Birdlife is now more abundant and the setting contributes therapeutic benefits to all residents. Robin says, "This has been great for our residents who are ambulatory. Many of our residents can't get outside, but we now have something other than grass for them to look at. We have trees!"
Robin's home, an hour away from where she works, has abundant trees. When she is there, she says, "I know what that does for me in terms of bringing peace." Now that the turf at Jenkins Senior Living Community has been transformed into a wooded campus, she says, "I'm absolutely sure that's true for elders as well."