Will Gardening Help You Live Longer?

Other tasks could have replaced caring for plants, but this study shows that control and responsibility, extended the lives of nursing home residents and, tended to improve their level of functioning and, extend their lives.
Conversely, having no control (such as voting for change and, get Bush III) should reduce their level of functioning and, shorten their lives.
http://capital2.capital.edu/faculty/jfournie/documents/Rodin_Judith.pdf
Long-Term Effects of a Control-Relevant Intervention With the Institutionalized Aged
In a field study (Langer & Rodin, 1976), we assessed the effects of an intervention designed to encourage elderly nursing home residents to make a greater number of choices and to feel more control and responsibility for day-to-day events. The study was intended to determine whether the decline in health, alertness, and activity that generally occurs in the aged in nursing home settings could be slowed or reversed by choice and control manipulations that have been shown to have beneficial effects in other contexts
The hospital administrator gave a talk to residents in the experimental group emphasizing their responsibility for themselves, whereas the communication given to a second, comparison group stressed the staff's responsibility for them as patients. To bolster the communication, residents in the experimental group were offered plants to care for, whereas residents in the comparison group were given plants that were watered by the staff.
The data indicated that residents in the responsibility-induced group became more active and reported feeling happier than the comparison group of residents, who were encouraged to feel that the staff would care for them and try to make them happy. Patients in the responsibility-induced group also showed a significant improvement in alertness and increased behavioral involvement in many different kinds of activities, such as movie attendance, active socializing with staff and friends, and contest participation. In addition to collecting these multiple questionnaire and behavioral measures at the time, we have now been able to collect longterm follow-up data on several variables, including mortality.
Mortality The most striking data were obtained in death rate differences between the two treatment groups. Taking the 18 months prior to the original intervention as an arbitrary comparison period, we found that the average death rate during that period was 25% for the entire nursing home. In the subsequent 18-month period following the intervention, only 7 of the 47 subjects (15%) in the responsibility- induced group died, whereas 13 of 44 subjects (30%) in the comparison group had died. Using the arcsine transformation for frequencies, this difference is reliable (z = 3.14, p < .01).
Because these results were so startling, we assessed other factors that might have accounted for the differences. Unfortunately, we simply cannot know everything about the equivalency of these subjects prior to the intervention. We do know that those who died did not differ reliably in the length of time that they had been institutionalized or in their overall health status when the study began. These means are presented in Table 4, which also presents the nurses' evaluations prior to the intervention. From these ratings it is clear that the nurses had given lower evaluations prior to the intervention to those patients who subsequently died than to those who were still living, F ( l , 48) = 7.73, p < .01. The interaction between treatment group and the life-death variable was not significant, however.
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"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini.
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In article

Perhaps a few jewels buried in here.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life/#7
Taste below.
Bill
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≥Living organisms are autopoietic systems: self-constructing, self-maintaining, energy-transducing autocatalytic entities≤ in which information needed to construct the next generation of organisms is stabilized in nucleic acids that replicate within the context of whole cells and work with other developmental resources during the life-cycles of organisms, but they are also ≥systems capable of evolving by variation and natural selection: self-reproducing entities, whose forms and functions are adapted to their environment and reflect the composition and history of an ecosystem≤ (Harold 2001, 232)
It will be argued below that living systems may be defined as open systems maintained in steady-states, far-from-equilibrium, due to matter-energy flows in which informed (genetically) autocatalytic cycles extract energy, build complex internal structures, allowing growth even as they create greater entropy in their environments.
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Uh, yeah, I was just going to make that point ;O)
You're either busy being born, or busy dying as the bard said.
Or to paraphrase the I Ching,"It furthers one to have a place, where one wants to go."
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Wildbilly wrote:

Possibly control and responsibility are the factors but I think anything that keeps the residents active physically, mentally and socially would do the same. In old age inactivity and passivity are the killers. People who give up on life have less quality and quantity.
David
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I think you are right, David, being engaged, and participating seems to be the key. That's why I hope that when I get too old and silly, someone will give me a plant to care for.
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