The therapeutic nature of gardening can be an enriching and empowering experience for your loved one with dementia. Getting out and about in the sun and forming a routine of watering and planting herbs and flowers can help reduce some distress and anxiety. A daily routine can also improve memory and the joy of being out in the garden under the sun could reconnect them to happier memories. With so many benefits we want to make sure that our loved ones have a safe environment to enjoy themselves. With these gardening tips for dementia patients, we hope you can create a safe place for your loved ones.
The most important thing when caring for your loved one with dementia is their safety. Those who have experienced any form of cognitive loss will not be able to operate in the world as you and I do and will need our care and support. Keep your loved one safe from sharp tools and objects by getting safe gardening tools with rounded edges and large handles so that they can operate them easily. Watching out for the sun is also important. Help them apply sunscreen and a hat for when they’re out in the sun. Another way to keep them safe is to make sure the garden is accessible to them. Non-slip pathways, pathways that are wheelchair accessible, fences and gates can be greatly helpful in making sure that your loved one is safe.
Fast growing plants like peas and herbs and flowers that emit a beautiful fragrance when in bloom are beautiful choices for a garden. Plants like succulents, mints, cherry tomatoes, daisies, and butterfly bushes are easy to grow and offer a multisensory experience. Beware of poisonous plants and plants with thorns. Instead, opt for plants that are safe to touch and have different textures like lamb’s ear which can be calming to rub. Raised gardening beds for better accessibility are also a good option.
Wildlife and Water Features
Let life spring in your loved one’s garden by inviting wildlife to cohabit within your green spaces. Bird feeders, squirrel feeders, and flowers with high pollination to attract bees and butterflies are wonderful ways to attract wildlife. With the sound of birdsong and the chittering of squirrels, your loved one will feel the comfort of nature all around them. Water features are also a great idea, a little fountain that provides the calming sound of running water.
Keeping Your Garden Green
Where your garden is located plays a big role in the types of plants you should consider. If your garden is always in the sun or if it’s in the shade will determine the flowers that can thrive. The type of soil you use is also important. Bring your loved one down to your local plant nursery to get advice on the right soil and plants for their garden. Even if all you can do is indoor gardening these are still things you want to keep in mind.
Watering, trimming and harvesting can bring a great sense of accomplishment to your loved ones. Add some seating for them to sit by themselves or with their friends so that they can reap the benefits of the seeds they have sown.