Memory gardens are fast becoming a common feature in nursing homes and senior living facilities throughout the nation. A memory garden is a special, outdoor area that offers multiple forms of stimuli for aging populations. The visual, tactile, olfactory and auditory stimulation that these creations provide can be especially beneficial for those who are suffering from memory loss and degenerative brain conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. As a leading provider of senior care in Fairfield, we thought it would only be fitting if we shared some of the history and wonderful benefits of these gardens with our readers!
The Use of Horticulture in Therapy
Horticulture therapy dates as far back as 2000 BCE when it was used in Mesopotamia as a means for calming the senses. Dr. Benjamin Rush, who is commonly referred to as the “Father of American Psychology”, lauded the benefits of horticulture in therapy in 1812. More recent studies suggest that garden therapy can reduce agitation among dementia patients, making these outdoor additions more than worthwhile for caregivers who are living with elderly parents with some form of memory condition.
The Benefits of a Memory Garden
There are a number of positive actions and emotions that a well-designed memory garden can promote. These spaces can be used for socializing, outdoor dining, mild exercise, interaction with pets, storytelling, crafts and more. Some studies even show that these gardens are capable of limiting the physical effects of reduced mobility or immobility including osteoporosis, incontinence and even muscular atrophy.
Gardens that have continuous paths can also restore a sense of autonomy by giving people with short and long-term memory loss the ability to wander freely without becoming lost or disoriented. The addition of landmarks and activity zones can assist both mood patterns and pacing. Best of all, these settings can also stimulate long-term memories, especially when seniors engage in gardening activities such as raking, weeding or picking flowers. The positive feelings that memory gardens can incite will even promote increased engagement and reality orientation.
Helping Your Aging Parent or Loved One
No matter where your aging loved ones resides, there could be a number of therapeutic and neurological benefits in having access to one of the peaceful, serene settings of a memory garden. Start by planting a few flowers in the backyard, or look for local gardens where you can take your loved one on a regular basis. Doing so can improve memory, as well as cognitive and physical health.
To learn more about caring for an aging parent or loved one with a cognitive condition, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Fairfield today. We provide both specialty Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Fairfield County and have a team of experienced and professional caregivers who are trained in memory care, and our exclusive Cognitive Therapeutics Method which was designed specifically to help boost a senior’s brain health and cognitive vitality.
Find out more about our specialty care services and Cognitive Therapeutics Method by calling 203-955-1915 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.