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Gardening with dementia & Alzheimer’s – What to plant & when

9 August 2021

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Written byPhil MacKechnie

Gardening with dementia & Alzheimer’s – What to plant & when

Most people when presented with the word ‘dementia’ or ‘Alzheimer’s’ think of memory loss – but it’s so much more than that. It affects the way you speak, think, feel and act. It can change your perception of reality with hallucinations, what you see, smell, hear and touch. Engaging your senses helps to comprehend the world around you, with proven benefits to those with dementia.

Gardens are always growing and changing, presenting challenges and rewards, with an endless bounty of beautiful flowers and fruits. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips of what to plant and when, with dementia and multi-sensory experiences at the heart of them.

Plants for colour

As people age, many changes occur which can affect colour and perception. Prominent colour contrast can add clarity to the environment. A few bright and engaging plants are:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Daffodils
  • Coneflowers
  • Bluebells

Plants that are soft to touch

The sensation of touch can help to calm the mind, reduce agitation and ease physical discomfort. Sometimes those living with dementia have difficulty with emotional connections and touch is a great way to bring back old memories. That said, touching brambles, poison ivy or stinging nettles is a definite ‘no’, so here are some plants that are soft and safe to touch:

  • Lambs ears
  • Chenille
  • Pussy willow

Plants for scent

Smell is the most forward facing and emotional of the senses, rooted in parts of the brain that control memory and emotion. Scent recognition is tied in closely with the memories of people, places, life events and feelings. Here are some beautiful and strong smelling plants to get the mind racing:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint

Plants for making drinks and food

Fruits, vegetables and herbs all contain fantastic nutritional properties and growing them yourself adds even greater satisfaction. Some people experiencing dementia can lose interest in food and participating in mealtimes. Stimulating the senses by growing their own food could encourage them to eat or be able to enjoy food again.

  • Tomato
  • Strawberry
  • Thyme

gardening with dementia

One of the benefits of private home care is that Radfield’s highly trained Care Professional’s can take away the hassle of meal preparation. Radfield’s meal preparation services can help those you care about create and enjoy delicious home cooked food that they know and love.

Great! You now have a list of fantastic, beautiful plants you can grow in your garden. But, when are you supposed to plant them for the best results?

Spring:

  • Hydrangea
  • Lambs ears
  • Chenille
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Tomato

Autumn:

  • Daffodils
  • Coneflowers
  • Bluebells
  • Pussy Willow
  • Strawberry

Winter:

  • Thyme

Many people choose Radfield Home Care’s services for companionship, helping them to engage in activities they find enjoyable (such as gardening). Radfield prides itself on promoting independence and independent living for those who need care. All of the Radfield Care Professionals undergo specialist training in dementia care to provide individually tailored care that meets the needs of both client and family.

If you would like to find out more about Radfield Home Care and how you can join the team, you can visit www.radfieldhomecare.co.uk or contact your local office.

Author

Phil MacKechnie

Phil MacKechnie

Digital Marketing Manager

A digital marketing connoisseur, Phil has worked on complex digital marketing projects for large online businesses.

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