Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 8th of April 2020.
The end of April welcomes the beginning of National Gardening Week, when amateur and professional gardeners alike share their passion for gardening. The purpose of the week is to encourage people to take up gardening and find a passion for it. For those living with dementia, gardening could be a hobby they enjoy or a new one completely; whichever it is there are a variety of benefits associated with gardening which they can experience.
Being outside and with nature can be highly beneficial for our wellbeing, whether taking part in gardening or not; from improving mood and providing an opportunity for increased sensory stimulation; benefits such as these are especially important for those living with dementia.
Here we will discuss just some of the reasons why gardening can be beneficial for someone living with dementia.
Gardening is a great way to engage the senses, especially when done outside. From the smells, of outdoor air, flowers and soil, to the sounds of birds chirping, there is plenty of opportunities for sensory stimulation. Getting involved in planting is a great way to get the sense of touch involved; and you can even get taste involved if you look to grow some fruits and vegetables. Sensory activities can be calming and reassuring for those living with dementia, and great for evoking memories of the past, as our sense of smell is closely linked to how we recall memories.
An additional benefit associated with the sensory stimulation provided by gardening is an improvement in mood. For those living with dementia, it can be quite sometimes be difficult coming to terms with the feeling of not being able to do the things you maybe once could, however being able to get outside and involved in an activity such as gardening can help to lift spirits, decrease stress and reduce anxiety levels. It can also serve as a distraction and help to reduce agitation.
Living with dementia can sometimes feel quite isolating so being able to be involved in activity can help with increasing the levels of socialisation and feelings of connection an individual receives can be highly beneficial. Gardening is great for involving both a carer and the person living with dementia. Try doing activities such as planting seeds, or watering flowers, or perhaps even drawing and painting some of the flowers in the garden together.
Continuation of a Hobby
For many, gardening could be a hobby they have enjoyed most of their life. Being able to continue a hobby such as this is a great way of continuing a healthy and happy life. With the right adjustments and care, gardening activities can be continued and help evoke positive memories and maintain routines. For those who are gardening beginners, it could be the opportunity to find a new hobby.
This National Gardening Week why not see if there is an opportunity to take part in some gardening activities, either outdoors planting, or indoors creating floral displays and involving arts and crafts.