Smells, sights and sounds can all invoke powerful emotional responses, reminding us of loved ones and happy times. The connection between external stimuli and memories can have a meaningful impact on people with dementia, a condition affecting many people across the United Kingdom.
The garden ought to be relaxing, in order to put everyone at ease. Another benefit is that having something that requires maintenance, but isn’t too hard to work one, gives those suffering from dementia a sense of freedom and independence.
We have compiled a list of ways you can make your garden more dementia friendly:
- Have a straightforward layout. Make sure it is easy to traverse the garden, and make sure that the entire layout is clear from the house. Tailoring the outdoor space to one’s individual needs is a must – for example, installing handrails where necessary.
- Pick appropriate plants. Vibrant colours and powerful scents are the way to best stir up memories, so choose appropriately without overpowering the senses.
- Make it familiar. As with the previous point, filling the garden with recognisable features like a vegetable patch, bench or water feature, is a great way to evoke memories of the past.
- Encourage wildlife to live there. Obviously, we aren’t talking about things like rodents, but setting up a bird bath, for example, might be a good technique to breathe life into the outdoor space.
- Make it relaxing. A sheltered space, or patio, is one way to ensure that someone with dementia can relax with friends and family, which, after all, is one of the points of having a dementia-friendly garden in the first place.
- Ease of maintenance is important. Having just talked about the merits of relaxation, a garden isn’t going to manage itself. Making it easy to maintain is great because a sense of independence is something that often a sufferer of dementia might be missing. The key is to find a balance, so that the garden is not so difficult to maintain that the sufferer needs a lots of help, as that would defeat the intention.
This was written as part of a content marketing strategy for The Willow Wand, a client based in Newton le Willows, Merseyside. MCM2 provide full-service digital marketing, including, email marketing, pay per click, content, seo, design, web building and strategy.