Gardening at home can be a great way for people affected by dementia to stay active and improve their wellbeing. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or access to outside space, here are some top gardening tips to try.
There are simple ways to encourage people living with and affected by dementia to continue gardening and enjoy gardens.
Top gardening tips for people with dementia (for spring and summer)
1. Planting seeds and pruning shrubs
Sowing seeds into pots or beds can offer a sense of achievement as the plants grow, blossom and bloom.
You could choose plants to help stimulate the senses, such as smell and touch. Avoid anything toxic to touch or eat, and anything with thorns or prickles. A lamb’s ear, for example, could offer a great sensory opportunity.
2. Creating, maintaining or topping up a water feature
A water feature could help stimulate a person's senses including sight and sound, as well as touch, if safe. It could also spark memories and encourage conversation.
You could try creating your own water feature using a washing up bowl in the ground.
3. Creating a wildlife corner
Welcome insects and other animals into your garden by creating an area just for them. You could leave an area of the garden uncut or unpruned, or create a log or rock pile habitat to welcome the little critters.
Or why not try creating a bee hotel using hollow stems or bamboo shoots tied together?
This could help aid conversation and encourage communication between people living with dementia, through looking for the animals or insects.
4. Garden maintenance
Tasks such as watering plants and deadheading, as well as harvesting vegetables and fruit, can give a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, can increase wellbeing for a person with dementia.
Pruning shrubs or cutting the grass could also be a good activity in the garden. Talking ideas through to decide what needs pruning could also encourage conversation.
5. Having a picnic or dinner in the garden
Enjoying a picnic outside can be relaxing and a change of scenery can be helpful for everyone.
Familiar smells and tastes of the food, and familiar sights such as a picnic blanket or tablecloths with flowers, can be enjoyed.
6. Painting garden furniture
Why not dig out a paintbrush and paint to spruce up your garden furniture and fences?
Painting can be quite relaxing and it can also give a real sense of purpose and accomplishment.
It’s a great opportunity to make your garden more welcoming too. You may also want to enjoy refreshments on the garden furniture afterwards to make it all worthwhile.
Activity ideas for people living with dementia
Keeping active and purposeful when staying at home will help fight off boredom and frustration. Here are some activities you can try at home.