Do you have a loved one who was an avid gardener before Alzheimer’s struck? Well, there’s no reason why they have to give up their hobby. By paying attention to garden design, experienced gardeners with Alzheimer’s can continue doing what they have always loved. Gardening can also be part of an Alzheimer’s treatment plan for those who were never gardeners in the past. So, read on to find out how gardening can help with Alzheimer’s.
The Benefits of Gardening for People with Alzheimer’s
- Getting physical exercise.
- Helping to relieve frustration, tension, and aggression.
- Engaging in a meaningful activity.
- Finding personal space for privacy and reflection.
- Being outdoors in a safe place.
- Finding stimulation with color, scents, and the sounds of birds.
Good Gardening Design Is Essential
For a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, an intelligent design should include a simple returning-path system such as a figure-of-eight loop. This gives a wandering person a way to get back to their house. Also, consider erecting an attractive fence to enclose the garden. Here are some other ideas:
- Provide seating for rest and enjoyment of the garden’s beauty.
- Raised planter areas will allow easy access to planting, weeding, watering, etc. Place these areas at the height of a wheelchair.
- Fill the garden with brightly colored perennials (plants that grow back every year). Situate herbs and other fragrant plants like lavender so that they release their fragrances when brushed.
- Incorporate at least one sheltered spot from the sun and wind, e.g., a gazebo.
- Also, if you are a caregiver, think about observation and visibility so you can relax and engage in separate activities.
Making a Garden Safe for Someone With Alzheimer’s
Gardening can help with Alzheimer’s, but it’s important to pay attention to safety. Here are some tips:
- Paths should be smooth and low in glare.
- Avoid steep gradients or steps.
- Walkways should easily fit a wheelchair. (As Alzheimer’s moves into its later stages, your loved one may lose the ability to walk.)
- Use bevel edges on concrete walkways to keep a wheelchair from rolling onto a lawn or flower beds.
- Handrails can be placed along pathways for those who have difficulty with mobility.
- Avoid poisonous and toxic plants and ones that can cause skin irritation.
- Open up dark, shadowy areas. Due to visual-spatial changes, people with Alzheimer’s can mistake darker areas for holes. However, too much light reflection is not helpful to those who have problems with their sight.
Involve Your Loved One in Planning the Garden
Include your experienced gardener with Alzheimer’s in designing the garden. They will have knowledge and experience about gardening and can contribute in various ways, from active involvement to choosing their favorite flowering plants.
Do You Need Help With Alzheimer’s in Columbia, SC?
Caring Healthcare has many years of experience with caring for Alzheimer’s patients in their own homes. We understand that gardening and Alzheimer’s are not incompatible. One of our experienced caregivers will be delighted to be on hand to allow your loved one to enjoy their garden. Talk to us today to see how we can help.