DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Alzheimer’s disease can be a tragic diagnosis, but the Dallas Arboretum is making fresh air a part of medical care.

Dr. Sidney Kay was never one to get outside and work in the garden. He still enjoys writing while residing in the memory loss wing of the Windsor Senior Living Center in Dallas. But, like the whole group, he loves the idea of helping something grow. “You better believe it,” he said.

In partnership with the Dallas Arboretum, the Windsor Senior Living Center offers ‘horticulture therapy.’ Susan Morgan manages the program at a number of facilities across North Texas, delivering planting programs that build physical strength and friendships. “Whether or not they recall that they were avid gardeners early on, there’s this positive association that people have with plants, that they know that working with plants is a positive thing,” Morgan explained.

Carmelita Dolores is the director of clinical services at the Windsor Senior Living Center. “There’s just something that inspires the soul,” she said. “It just makes them feel like, ‘I’m still alive,’ at the same time, ‘I can nurture and give life.'”

“It takes you to a totally new area of life, where they can get their hands dirty,” Kay said. “The dirt comes off, but what you’re doing, you’ll remember.”

The Dallas Arboretum offers the ‘horticulture therapy’ across the area, and has been asked to bring the planting program to Arizona. The program is not just for seniors. There are planting and arts programs for a variety of clients.

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