Making the most of the garden to help people living with dementia

Spending time outdoors, breathing fresh air and experiencing the effects of the weather on our senses is good for everyone – and people living with dementia are no exception.

As people progress on their dementia journey however, safety concerns around wandering or poor mobility, as well as reduced levels of motivation, can make it steadily harder for people to get out and about. This is where a garden can come into its own as a safe, stimulating and feel-good space where people can unwind, relax and find enjoyable activities that can bring fulfilment and fun.

Why gardens are great for care home residents

Combat lethargy and boredom – Gardens provide a useful change of scenery and can prompt an array of activities . For those who are physically active, the garden can provide a safe space to get some exercise and maintain a sense of purpose with familiar yet meaningful gardening tasks or outdoor hobbies and pastimes. Mobility issues shouldn’t be a barrier as adaptations such as raised beds and wheelchair accessible paths can make sure everyone is able to make the most of the space and enjoy the fresh air.

Boost health and wellbeing – Fresh air and exposure to sunlight provides the body with important vitamin D.  Simply feeling the sun on your face can be enough to lift your mood, while fresh air helps people digest food more effectively, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the immune system.

Reduce agitation and help sharpen cognitive functioning – Research has demonstrated that being outdoors has the power to yield positive emotions which can help reduce restlessness and anxiety and make you feel good. This can help promote better quality sleep, greater alertness and increased social interaction and communication.

Dementia friendly gardens provide multi-sensory experiences

When living with dementia a person’s connection to the world may seem more distant, particularly as communication difficulties arise. The cycle of the seasons is ingrained in us all, and for people living with dementia, recognising and experiencing the different seasons is a useful hook for prompting reminiscence and encouraging shared social experiences in the moment. 

The outdoors provides an excellent multi-sensory platform and gardens which appeal to all 5 senses can be hugely enjoyable and stimulating. Opportunities to listen, touch, smell and taste are therefore just as important as the more obvious visual impact of the plants and flowers.

Our Sensory garden at Northfield House

Our sensory garden here at Northfield House has been carefully designed and lovingly created to provide a safe but stimulating environment for our residents to help them explore and stay connected to the world around.

To find out more about our sensory garden and the home’s other specialist dementia care facilities contact Northfield House Care Home to speak to the Manager who will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Northfield House in Stroud, Gloucestershire is a residential care home providing specialist dementia care. People living with dementia see and experience the world differently and our home and garden have been adapted to make them dementia friendly, providing an easy to navigate and stress free environment for our residents. The home has a genuinely welcoming atmosphere and real community feel, and our experienced staff have built up a wealth of knowledge to be able to meet the individual needs of each of our residents. To find out how we could help you, contact Northfield House and arrange to speak to the manager by giving us a call on 01453 488060.


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