A Dementia Friendly Garden is about creating a space that a person living with Dementia can enjoy whilst feeling safe and content.
Being outside and able to enjoy the fresh air can have massive benefits on mental health and wellbeing and having a safe outdoor space of their own to enjoy can help to reduce stress and anxiety as well as giving them a space to enjoy independently, whilst they are able to, or with others.
Some of the things to consider when creating a Dementia Friendly garden, or outside area, are:
Ensuring walkways and areas are as level as possible will help to create a Dementia Friendly Garden to reduce the risk of trips and falls and making it much easier for the individual living with Dementia to move around.
If you do have higher levels or steps, using handrails for extra support and ensuring they are easy to see (and not camouflaged or masked by shrubbery/flowers/bushes) will help to minimise any risk of falls.
You should also be mindful of any slippy services, especially decking when it gets wet (this can be an accident waiting to happen!).
You may also want to consider specialist flooring that is non-slip or even surfaces that provide a softer landing, if a loved one is prone to falls.
Safe & Secure
Ensuring the garden is not only safe but also secure ensures peace of mind for you whilst keeping your loved one safe!
As we know, it is not unusual for our loved ones living with Dementia to get confused and disorientated; ensuring the garden is secure and there is minimal risk of our loved ones leaving without us being made aware is extremely important.
You do not have to use padlocks and treat the garden like a gated prison but you may want to consider secure fencing covered with climbing plants, trellis or other garden ornaments and features that still look pretty and ornate (and can be enjoyed!) but help to protect your loved one.
Take the weight off your feet
Having a lovely garden is brilliant and an outside space for our loved ones to enjoy and spend time in is a bonus whether living with Dementia or not, however seating is a must!
We all need to take the weight off of our feet from time to time and spending time in the garden is no exception.
Having plenty of seating options available is advantageous to all of us, no matter what our age, and means we can spend more time in the garden enjoying our surroundings and breathing in the fresh air!
Encouraging birds and wildlife into the garden can provide a great activity for those living with Dementia (not to mention how calming and relaxing it can be to sit and watch or listen to the birds!).
Other animals that you may want to think about encouraging into the garden are hedgehogs, bugs, butterflies and even frogs.
Allowing your loved one living with Dementia to get involved in the Garden and Gardening Activities is a great way to spend time outside together and when they are pottering about alone.
Activities in the garden can give someone living with Dementia a sense of purpose and increase their self-esteem and overall mood.
Some activities you may want to consider are; weeding, pruning, planting seeds and vegetables. You may even want to invest in some garden games and activities like a large jenga set, swingball or connect four.