With dementia being a common disease in old age, it’s great to know that there’s a dementia garden in Australia. The place is actually the first in the country. It is located in Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. They are said to have the highest number of dementia sufferers in the entire country. Experts believe that this will be a remarkable facility for dementia care.
Dementia is a progressive disease that is characterised by a range of conditions. It leads to loss of memory and mental functioning, which gets worse over time. There are a number of forms of dementia with Alzheimer’s disease topping the list. Generally, dementia impairs an older person’s ability to plan, reason out, speak, and communicate. The disease also greatly affects one’s behaviour and personality. These are the key reasons why the establishment of a dementia garden has been warmly welcomed since its opening in August.
How The Dementia Garden Aids In Dementia Care
The garden has a couple of sensory components such as pick and sniff a plant area and a gathering space. It also has water features and a texture wall. Dementia sufferers themselves say that the garden evokes specific memories. Their claims are backed by research that shows the effectiveness of these sorts of gardens abroad. Furthermore, Theresa Scott, a University of Queensland Dementia Research fellow also agrees with these claims. According to her, various studies showed that gardens like these reduce anxiety and agitation. Likewise, they boost a dementia patient’s morale.
Moreover, she highlighted the relaxing experience that dementia sufferers feel while in the garden. This is their body’s response to being in nature. Their heart rate slows down and their blood pressure lowers too.
Evidence also suggests that seeing, hearing, and smelling nature fosters positive memories.
People’s strongest memories are linked to the olfactory part of the brain, which is responsible for smells and scents.
A Therapeutic Space In Dementia Care
Relatives of dementia sufferers believe that the garden will raise dementia awareness. Additionally, it will add value to the lives of people with dementia. Whether the disease has just started or in the latter stage, visiting the dementia garden is beneficial. It is among the best places to include in a dementia care plan. Both carers and the sufferers will benefit from the experience.
More Tips on Dementia Care
There are a lot of things to engage dementia patients in to stimulate their brain.
Put their brain to work
Doing brain-stimulating activities can lower the progression of dementia. These include playing puzzles or doing any form of art like painting. Not only are they put on ‘thinking mode’, but they also get themselves busy. They do something that gives them a sense of accomplishment. These activities are made even more fun when shared with other sufferers.
Maintain a social network
Maintaining a network of friends is good for the brain. According to Dr. Farrow, this is because being social is also a form of mental activity. Think about communicating and being aware of what one does in a social setting. These demands put their brains to work. So, as carers, be the first to encourage the elderly to join weekly revelries. Why not sign them up for an art class, craft class, card games club, or any other group sessions?
Be physically active
Being physically active is another crucial factor in keeping an active brain. However, many overlook this. Sufferers and non-sufferers of dementia must be physically active. Physical activity can be as simple as taking a walk in the park. It can also be in the form of aerobics or other low-intensity exercises. What’s important is that they get to move their bodies. A 30-minute exercise daily can already do the trick.
Maintain a balanced diet
Eating well is another secret in keeping the brain engaged. There are foods that are good for the brain. Some of these are fishes that are high in Omega-3 fats. Fruits and vegetables must also be in their daily diet since they have the highest antioxidants.
Final Words on Dementia
Dementia cannot be cured but there are things carers can do to alleviate the symptoms. Perhaps it’s also time to let them see the dementia garden for themselves, right? Besides, it pays to know how the facility can really be an effective element of dementia care.