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Benefits of Gardening for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Gardening for Alzheimer's patientsTherapeutic gardens are designed in assisted living facilities to increase sensory stimulation dealing with Alzheimer’s care or dementia patients. These gardens allow the residents to access the gardens on a daily basis. They provide reflection opportunities, exercise and the enjoyment of nature up close.

In addition, although the dementia and Alzheimer’s patients have ready access, the facilities do have elaborate protections against wandering off and to reduce incidents of injury and death. There are both structural devices; plus electronic devices to keep the residents safe from harm. Some of these gardens may even have a space that’s structured for residents who become disoriented easily. Too, if gardens are shaped in a figure eight, it lessens confusion in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients since it goes in a continuing shape without an end. Another thing is that with the continuous paths, residents that wander can walk all around without actually wandering off, but it releases the pent up energy that causes wandering.

So what other benefits do these gardens provide for residents living in Alzheimer’s care or dementia assisted living facilities? Well, some of the benefits which residents receive are that there are also gardens with raised garden beds where people can do their own gardening. Additionally, planting vegetables, tending and then eating the yield helps improve the residents eating. Furthermore, planting flowers acts as a scent and touch stimuli which can relive stress. Too, the vegetation which is planted in the gardens are non-toxic in case of accidental ingestion.

Now to get the senses stimulated, there are usually plants which promote tactile stimulation, olfactory and visual stimulation as well. So there are trees to sit under on benches in the shade; and flowers and plants to attract birds and butterflies. Also, the trees may have leaves that change colors with the seasons too and leaves rustling in the wind making a pleasant, relaxing sound.

In addition, if the assisted living facility is in a climate of inclement seasonal weather, large windows will often look out onto the therapeutic gardens or have an enclosed perimeter walkway. This gives the residents reminders that the gardens are out there waiting for them when the weather permits. The enclosed paths also let the residents know that they can still enjoy walks even if assisted.

To close, there are many reasons for therapeutic gardens in assisted living centers. They can bring peace of mind to the body and soul for those who no longer are sure where they are; or who they are.

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