Is your garden dementia friendly?

The Covid-19 pandemic has drawn particular attention to the need for better use of outdoor spaces by everyone. Last Autumn the Association for Dementia Studies launched an environmental assessment tool for gardens which has proved a very popular addition to our suite of assessment tools. As part of this work we have now launched Making your garden dementia-friendly a free resource for people living at home with dementia, their carers and families. 

The front cover of the booklet, showing the title, a photo of a tree in a garden, and a green stripe down the right side

Connecting with and being in nature is good for everyone and the booklet has been written to support people living with dementia who want to stay at home and enjoy their outside space. It recognises that looking after a garden takes time and that carers, families and friends can play an important part in keeping the garden looking good.

Many research studies have demonstrated the importance of being outside to the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Access to fresh air, sunshine and natural light are important for wellbeing as well as helping to maintain body clocks and vitamin D levels. Gardens can provide a range of interest and activity as well as pleasant places to sit and enjoy nature.

A montage of four photos showing various outdoor scenes including flowers, a butterfly and seating

The booklet, which has been informed by people with a lived experience of dementia, is designed to be practical and describes some of the ways in which gardens can be safely enjoyed both from indoors and outside. It is divided into sections which give an explanation of why the topic is important and lists some practical, quick and easy things that can be done to make your garden or outside space more dementia friendly. The action points for each section are listed in the checklists provided at the end of the booklet.

The sections cover:

  • Getting outside
  • Being outdoors
  • Engaging the senses
  • Plants and planting
  • Enjoying the view
  • Keeping safe
Image showing a checklist from the booklet, with bullet points about plants and planting and columns to indicate whether a change has been made and when

The Making your garden dementia-friendly booklet can be accessed free from our website (see the ‘Related resources’ section).

Also of interest may be My home, my garden story which reports on a pilot study which explored how people living with dementia access and use their garden in everyday life.

Making your garden dementia-friendly has been designed as a companion to the Alzheimer’s Society booklet Making your home Dementia Friendly which can be accessed here

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

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