We have many service users with dementia and helping them to maintain their physical activity, cognitive function and social interaction is extremely important to enable them to lead as normal a life as possible, so we are regularly researching different activities they can do.
One activity that has a huge benefit for people with dementia is gardening and it is something we encourage our service users to do with their carers or members of their family.
Planting, pruning, digging, sweeping and weeding are just some garden activities that can improve dexterity skills and are a great form of exercise for those that are mobile enough to do them.
With a carer or family member, a person with dementia can benefit cognitively from gardening too through the planning stages, deciding what seeds to sow, what vegetables to grow or how they want the overall garden to look if you’re giving it a complete makeover.
Maintaining a garden gives a person with dementia a task to focus on every day/week as ongoing jobs such as watering and pruning need doing.
It’s a great activity for people to do together, improving social interaction and spending quality time together in the great outdoors.
It is not all back breaking work and digging though, gardening can be great for wellbeing and mindfulness. It can also distract, engage and help focus a person with dementia.
Gardening is also fantastic for stimulation of the senses, there are lots of wonderful smells emitting from flowers, herbs, grass and even soil and the colours and light can really spark the imagination. There’s also the sensation of touch, of soil or plants in your hands as you plant them, and fantastic sounds too such as birdsong, rustling of leaves in the wind and the odd sounds of wildlife.
It’s the perfect place to sit and relax, for a person with dementia to reflect and just feel a sense of calm wash over them.