One of the most heartbreaking experiences any of us may have to go through is someone we love suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s in later life. Thankfully, there are many ways in which sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer’s can continue to enjoy life, and gardening is especially popular. If you or your family cannot maintain your garden, many available people would love to help you. Gardening is a means to promote both their physical and mental health, and so a pertinent question is ‘What landscaping design is suitable for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s?’. Based on the knowledge of gardening from the professionals at Garden Spec, this blog post explores ways to adapt your landscape to help someone with Dementia Or Alzheimer’s
You must make two considerations when designing either a new landscape garden or reconfiguring a landscaped garden so that it is adapted to suit the person in question. The first of these is their safety, and the second is how to make the garden therapeutic so that it provides a means of promoting their physical and mental well-being despite the challenges they face from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Many of the ways you can make a landscaping design safe for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s could equally apply to those without it. Since sufferers tend to be in their senior years, you need to ensure there are no trip hazards or unnecessary obstacles, that walkways are flat and easy to traverse, and that there are no low tree branches across those walkways.
Further consideration should be given to providing seating in multiple areas of the garden and that lighting is sufficient should the person wish to go into their garden at night. One final point about safety is that it might be wise to have a lock on any gates that allow an exit from the garden out into the street. This would be particularly recommended in the later stages of these conditions, given that suffers can become confused and wander off.
As for the therapeutic opportunities you can include in landscaping designs suitable for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the list is long. As a core principle, you should have plenty of sensory stimulation, thought and decision-making, physical activity, and quiet reflection opportunities. In practical terms, some of the specifics within this landscaping design can include the following:
- Lots of different colours, sizes, and shapes
- Navigational markers
- Flat, secure walkways and patios
- Open spaces that attract plenty of sunshine
- Covered areas in case it rains
- Safe and comfortable garden seating
- A variety of garden ornaments
- Bird and other animal feeders
We are sure you can think of many more. The point is, regardless of what the specific feature of the landscaping design is, it should take account of the needs of someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. To combat these ailments as much as possible, the person needs to be in a garden that provides positive experiences and eliminates negative ones. You should consider each of them to ensure they meet the following criteria.
- Stimulates all five senses
- Provides opportunities for physical activity
- It provides opportunities to feel a sense of achievement
- Allows them to play the role of creator
- Increases attention spans
- Stimulates thought and decision-making
- It provides a stress-free and relaxing environment
- It feels like an area of safety and security
- Offers opportunities for social interaction
Again, there may be more you can think of, but in the main, if your landscaping design meets all of the above criteria, it will create a garden in that a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s can thrive in.