Spring is here and it is so good to be able to spend time outside, especially wandering around the garden to look at all of the plants emerging after those cold winter months. I had the opportunity to visit an Alzheimer’s garden, last week, which was just completed. It was great to be able to sit in the garden and see the Redbud tree and the shrubs and perennials blooming. What was extra special was watching the residents interact with the garden. One gentleman walked around the perimeter of the garden and identified all of the plants. He thought all of the flowering shrubs were hydrangeas. While, in reality, they were Fragrant Spice Viburnum shrubs – it really did not matter. He was pleased to tell the aide walking with him that he had personally planted all of the plants in “his” garden.
This and so many other stories validate why the garden is vitally important for elders. The garden is an essential way for people to maintain a connection with the world around them – especially those with memory impairments. The plants are a tool for eliciting conversations and retrieving memories of what a person did in their own garden. The garden is a place where elders can smell the flowers; watch the birds, and all of those everyday things that we all too often take for granted.
I would like to hear other stories about how elders with Dementia are enjoying the garden. Please tell me what is happening during spring in your Alzheimer’s garden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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