Recently we have been involved in two very different projects for aged-care facilities and specifically designing gardens for residents with dementia. These projects are extremely rewarding to be a part of and it is wonderful to see the gardens are now coming to life!
As discussed earlier this year in ‘An Inspiring Approach to Dementia Care’ there are key elements to be considered with these gardens to ensure that fulfilling and safe outdoor activity can be enjoyed by these residents.
Thankfully it is now widely recognised that there are wonderful benefits to residents who have access to a thoughtfully designed garden as discussed in this excerpt from Victorian Government Health Information – Dementia Friendly Gardens:
“When people can freely use outdoor areas, agitation and aggression reduce, independence is promoted, and memory recall is more likely to occur. Gardening is stimulating, gives sensory pleasure and taps in to past life activities and experiences.
Quality of life improves with an outdoor space or garden giving people the chance to:
- be physically active
- feel unrestrained
- be more in touch with nature
- be alone if they want to be
- socialise if they want to
- do meaningful things that make them feel at home.
Outdoor areas can offer privacy, areas for sociability, activities for different skills and abilities, and a place to go to break up the day. For some people the outdoor world has spiritual or religious meaning.
Walking has physical and psychological benefits, and being outdoors lets people have safe sun exposure for vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is needed for musculoskeletal health and reducing the risk of bone fractures.”
Japara Health Care – Albury
Keeping in line with this centre’s location, our design of the three dementia-care courtyards followed three separate themes of ‘Mountain’ , ‘River’ and ‘History’. Different plants and features within these gardens such as farm equipment, tree stumps, a boat and even a tractor were incorporated as memory elements.
Vasey RSL Care – Brighton East
A very different theme was chosen for this garden in Brighton East. Our team designed a courtyard that embraced the typical images of Brighton. The path to one side of the courtyard portrays a typical suburban footpath bordered by a picket fence and low brick wall with gardens behind them.
This leads to a stylised ‘Church Street cafe’ outdoor seating area. The path then follows around to ‘Beach Road’, where the storage shed is cleverly disguised as a Brighton beach box and a timber boat provides seating.
The Brighton garden is almost complete and we are thrilled at the work of Tony Blackford Landscaping in bringing this project to life for the Vasey RSL residents!