Research and Understand
Before you even think about the design, it is important to first understand the process as well as the implications of what you’re planning. In this case, it is the challenges of dementia as well as how that may affect the design and layout of the garden. At this stage, you’ll want to consult the home operators and get to know their concerns. How is the garden going to function and how will it act as dementia therapy for the patients?
Health & Safety
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when designing a garden for a person suffering from dementia. The garden needs to be designed with minimal possible hazards. Surfaces should be non-slippery, railings need to be at a height that can’t be climbed and trips & falls should be avoided at all costs. The whole garden needs to be visible to care staff and you need to take care in regards to contrasting color surfaces as they can be easily perceived as steps.
The garden has to always be in the best condition in order to avoid accidents. Proper drainage should be in place and areas that cause disorientation should be avoided.
In addition to ensuring that the perimeter heights are high enough, the area needs to be easily accessible and spacious enough for dementia patients. However, the design should not overlook their privacy. Gates should be hidden or disguised and the fences need to be covered with hedges and shrubs in order to look less intimidating and more natural.
Features of Interest
It is always nice to have sensory gardens for dementia patients. Consider a kitchen garden, which features raised allotment beds where those who enjoy gardening can put their skills to work. It’s also advisable to have a garden with appealing smells such as curry, coriander and bright colors.
Enjoyable from Indoors
Everyone likes a good view and a beautiful garden can be enjoyable even when the weather is not friendly.
Watching animals is always a soothing experience, something that every individual dealing with dementia really needs. So, consider including squirrel and bird feeders and even birdbaths. This will add more life to the garden and make it more enjoyable.
The garden walkways need to be easy to follow and lead back to the building. They should feature clear and concise signage and should be wide enough to fit a wheelchair and two individuals.
Lastly, it is important to ensure that there are both sunny and shady spots where people can relax and enjoy the fresh air.
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