Is your educational programming prepared for the coming “elder boom”? Every day, 10,000 Americans reach the age of 65 and the fastest growing demographic in this country is women over age 85. To remain vital to audiences, public gardens must account for these population trends in program offerings. Accordingly, gardens must also consider the unique needs and opportunities of an older adult audience in program design in order to create lasting connections to nature. 

In this session, learn about two programs at Naples Botanical Garden (NBG) designed specifically for older adults—a skill-based art series for neurotypical adults and a therapeutic horticulture program for adults with dementia and their care-partners. Session participants will learn how both programs work to combat the social isolation common in older populations as well as provide stimulating mental engagement rather than passive entertainment, and why that matters in effective program design. This session will also explain the differences between older adult learners and younger audiences and share the key ingredients for impactful program design.