Outdoor therapy aids people with dementia

February 29 2016

Outdoor therapy aids people with dementia

GARDENING clubs are being set up for people with dementia to help them stay connected with their local community.

Growing Support, a Community Interest Company, offers gardening clubs with activities specially designed to increase opportunities for people with dementia to go outdoors, have more light exercise and be socially active.

Studies show that regular gardening as part of a sociable group can help people with dementia feel a renewed sense of purpose and belonging, reduce agitation, and improve sleep and appetite. Yet as people grow older, particularly if they have dementia, they are less likely to be active or to meet new people.

Growing Support runs thriving and sociable gardening groups in care homes and community gardens across Bristol.

Volunteers provide support for the more difficult tasks so that everyone can take part.

They create a cheerful, social atmosphere, chatting with the gardeners and encouraging reminiscence.

It is surprising what a difference an outdoor activity can make to people. Care staff commented that one lady, Doreen, was very upset when she arrived at the garden, so upset that she was described as ‘inconsolable’. A volunteer walked around the garden with her and they chatted until she became calmer. The group leader then supported her to plant flowers. After an hour Doreen was much calmer and began to interact with the rest of the group, laughing when they laughed, and contributing to the group activity. People were amazed at the change in her!

It is this kind of positive impact on mood and behaviour that Growing Support wants to share with more people living with dementia in Bristol.

New volunteers are always very welcome. Full training is provided along with regular social events.

If you would like to find out more please visit the website: http://growingsupport.co.uk or contact Sam on volunteers@growingsupport.co.uk.