There is a beautiful courtyard with patio furniture and raised flower beds at Wellhaven Senior Living. At the beginning of the planting season Wellhaven purchased plants for tenants to plant in the raised gardens.

Many tenants enjoy taking care of plants and gardening.

Gardening stimulates our bodies and gets seniors outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Linsey Knerl shares more benefits of gardening in her book "Why Seniors Should Garden."

• The focus of gardening helps to keep the mind sharp and strengthen attention spans.

• There is up to a 36 percent chance to decrease risk of dementia.

• A person can improve hand strength and dexterity.

• Gardening is relaxing, so it reduces stress levels and produces higher self-esteem.

• There is a reduction in heart attack and stroke.

Don and Lee Mazek, Wellhaven residents who have been married more than 70 years, help maintain the care of the plants in Wellhaven's courtyard.

Don said, "It's good therapy for me. Gardening gets me outside, exercising and makes me use my brain. And Lee helps."

"With a variety of activities available including gardening, tenants can stay active and involved," said Laura Swanson, activities director at Wellhaven. "Tenants take pride in our gardens and work together to care for the plants and flowers. The raised garden beds have benefits for growing produce along with being ideal for mobility challenged gardener."

Before we know it, our courtyard will be used for the River Falls Days' Pre-Parade Party hosted July 13 from 4:30-6 p.m. Community members are welcome to join this free event! We will provide food and have activities for all ages.

Check out our gardens before the pre-parade party. To schedule a tour, call 715-426-4646.