Shefford care home sensory garden awakens the senses of dementia residents

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 July 2020

Each area of the garden has been carefully thought out to maximise stimulation for residents. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline Fletcher

Each area of the garden has been carefully thought out to maximise stimulation for residents. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline Fletcher

Archant

A sensory garden has been created at a care home to help stimulate residents, particularly those suffering from dementia.

The new sensory garden is the result of collaborative effort between Oak Manor staff, residents and volunteers. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline FletcherThe new sensory garden is the result of collaborative effort between Oak Manor staff, residents and volunteers. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline Fletcher

The project at Oak Manor in Shefford began earlier this year, when residents were asked what they would like to see in the garden, such as types of structures and favourite plants.

Plans were drawn up, a committee of staff and residents formed, and businesses approached to lend a hand.

Residents’ families donated plants and money towards the project, and Tesco donated £3,000 through its community grant scheme Bags of Help.

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Now residents can enjoy stunning views of the new sensory garden from their rooms – a triumph of staff, residents and volunteers pulling together.

Home manager Fay Gooch said: “The transformation is lovely for the residents. As well as sitting in the gardens, the residents can enjoy the view from their own rooms and dining room windows. The garden is used so much more by residents and staff, and we have begun to welcome families to visit, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, which has been wonderful.

“Recently we arranged a day to do some alterations and weeding to the rose garden. Staff happily came in on their day off, along with volunteers. Lots of residents joined us to offer advice and enjoy the sunshine. This project has been so worthwhile and totally worth all the aches and pains!”

David Moore, the care provider’s dementia lead, added: “There is growing evidence telling us of the benefits of being outside and gardens for people living with dementia. Spending time in a garden can lift mood, help with spirituality, give opportunities to engage with others and nature, and reduce behaviours. After the past few months of lockdown, the importance of gardens has become apparent to us all, but this is even more so for people living with dementia, many who have been shielding in their homes.

Brght colours and fun designs are encorporated into the newly-developed outside space. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline FletcherBrght colours and fun designs are encorporated into the newly-developed outside space. Picture: Courtesy of Caroline Fletcher

“Oak Manor has created not only an attractive garden, but a sensory garden for residents to enjoy. This garden has been designed to ensure residents are meaningfully engaged with their surroundings. Careful consideration was given to how the garden could be designed to help the needs of the residents, including choosing certain plants that stimulated residents’ sense of smell and touch.”


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