Dementia-friendly garden stimulates and calms the senses

Groups from dementia-related services as far as Forster and Nambucca Heads have soaked up the benefits of a dementia-friendly garden.

The dementia-friendly garden, which was the first of its kind in Australia, officially opened in August 2017.

The tranquil oasis is located at the Dementia and Memory Community Centre in Port Macquarie’s Bridge Street.

Dementia Australia sector and capacity development manager Gary Thomas said the response to the garden had been fantastic.

“It has really made it [the centre] more inviting and the number of people visiting the centre has really increased,” he said.

“They really like the fact there is something dedicated to them that incorporates so many different aspects of triggering the senses, and in some instances, triggering memories.”

The sensory wall contains items which can trigger memories, for example.

The multi-purpose and therapeutic space stimulates and calms the senses.

The garden’s development drew on best-practice guidelines and research from around the world, along with feedback garnered through consultation with consumers and health professionals.

The garden also acts as a blueprint for others looking to create dementia-friendly outdoor spaces.

“We’ve had quite a lot of people through just looking at it for ideas and what they might be able to do in the own gardens,” Mr Thomas said about service providers.

The garden is a feature of the Dementia and Memory Community Centre.

The centre provides access to information and education programs for people living with dementia, their carers and family.