Hospice patients benefit from houseplants in need of a home:

One of the cornerstone beliefs of all Rotarians is “Service Above Self.” Local projects such as feeding the needy or restoring a playground are some of the many kinds of opportunities Rotary Club offers to members. Another benefit of being a Rotarian is networking. Friendships quickly develop between members as they all join together for a good cause. The true magic happens when these two benefits are combined and a purpose evolves. That is just what recently happened in the Rotary Club of Los Gatos.

One of our members, Michelle Myers Nelson, regularly picks up flowers that are rotated out of the local Trader Joe’s store. Prior to the pandemic, she would bring the flowers to a community center where they would be passed out to the seniors attending lunch. Over this past year the centers ceased their in-house lunch program, so she began offering them to the nursing staff at Kaiser Permanente and other front line workers.

Recently, however, she had another bounty from Trader Joe’s to share: plants. Lots and lots of lovely little indoor plants in decorative pots needing good homes. She thought how nice it would be if she could bring them to a hospice center to provide some cheer to those who are not only struggling with medical challenges, but who have been particularly isolated during the pandemic. How to do this was more challenging than she thought, with all the new safety restrictions. Then she remembered one of her fellow Rotarians, Wes Sadumiano, works in Community Relations and Marketing for Hospice of the Valley. After one quick call, he was able to arrange for her to deliver the plants to their local office, where the attending nurses could distribute them to their patients. And that was the magical moment. One person, connecting with one other, bringing good into the world. She will never see the smiles on any of the faces when they receive their little gift of life, but just knowing it will happen provides all the satisfaction required. 

Rotary, people of action, making good things happen.

Benefits of Plants on Mental and Physical Health

There are many mental and physical health benefits provided by houseplants, which is why so many hospices have gardens for patients and visitors to look at or gather in. Plants can:

  • Clean and oxygenate the air, leading to less chance of respiratory discomfort from conditions such as asthma or COPD. 

  • Have a calming effect on patients, lowering stress and anxiety levels, along with heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Improve cognitive functioning, specifically in relation to the ability to remember and focus.

  • Lower pain levels for those who regularly interact with and care for plants.

  • Increase confidence and self-esteem.

  • Add beauty to a patient’s room.

We wonder what magic will happen next? Because we know it will.