“Being outside is necessary for wellbeing and enjoyment of life itself” - Brawley 2004
A lot has been written of late about how gardening and spending time in parks and green spaces helps dementia sufferers. The therapeutic qualities of gardens are increasingly being recognised as a way to improve the health of dementia sufferers.
Whilst provable evidence is hard to come by reports are encouraging…
Spending time in a garden might help soothe the agitation that commonly strikes people with dementia, a new review suggests. Gardening provides a welcome distraction as people derive real calm and serenity from having access to an open and safe environment.
Gardening can specifically improve the health of people with dementia in a number of ways, from encouraging cardiovascular exercise, stimulating the appetite and increasing vitamin D levels, to improving mood, relieving stress, and providing an activity to share with family and carers.
Gardening provides gardeners with a better perception of health and well-being, a much wanted sense of control and improves social interaction. Initial findings even suggest that gardening helps people with dementia to reminisce and can even open up other related memories.
So called ‘therapy gardens’ help improve independence, mobility and well-being, as well as giving options for privacy and social life. The gardens provide peace and quiet and visual stimulation that isn’t too challenging.
Clearly gardening isn’t the answer for all dementia suffers but early research suggests it’s helping in many cases. Like most activities people with dementia will need supervising, but they too will benefit from the gardening experience.
So if you know someone with dementia ask them if they’d like to do some gardening or simply take them out to a local park or green spaces to enjoy the many benefits plants offer us. For more information about dementia please visit www.alzheimers.org.nz