A Tayside charity has launched a gardening project which will take dementia sufferers on a journey back in time.
The Memory Box Network, which is based in Dundee, is running a new project called Bygone Gardens that will work with 10 families across Angus to support the creation of their own ‘reminiscence’ garden.
The charity will work with the families to identify the decade that works best to encourage long-held memories to come to the surface.
Chief executive Scott Downie said: “The idea is that we will work with 10 families to identify a decade that works best for the person with dementia that they can recall and that with the help of volunteers and our partners such as Dobbies we will design and build their gardens in the style of that decade so they can spend lots of time with their loved ones, talking, reminiscing and being supported.
“For example if it was the 1970s it would be all Pampas Grass and Alpine Rockery.”
Mr Downie said dementia is a devastating condition that has numerous effects such as memory loss, cognitive impairment, depression, isolation, fear and anxiety.
He added: “Many of these aspects also affect the family, friends and carers of people with dementia.
“Within Angus there is 2,448 individuals who have some form of the condition and statistics estimate that there are a further eight people affected within the care network.
“A major problem is how do we communicate with the person who has dementia and how do we empower the person with the condition?
“By finding ways to engage about past hobbies and pastimes we can help families spend more time together talking, sharing stories and pass on knowledge for interests such as gardening.
“We are looking for 10 families across Angus to work with, they must have their own garden to work in, either private or communal such as a garden within a supported housing complex and a past interest in gardening, horticulture or farming.
“We are also looking for volunteers who are interested in working with people in their gardens, no experience in working with people with dementia is required.”
Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 475 2820.
Mr Downie said benefits for people with dementia include:
- Stimulating activity that will help their cognitive ability
- Increase physical movement
- Spending time with their friends and family will increase social inclusion
- Reduce depression and increase wellbeing
- Build string care and support networks
The benefits for carers and families include;
- Better support through involvement of volunteering and contact with The Memory Box Network charity
- Reduction in fear and anxiety through learning techniques to work with their loved ones who have dementia
The benefits for the local community include;
- A chance to volunteer (through our volunteering partners Voluntary Action Angus), volunteering brings a great deal of self-worth for those who are retired or looking for work
- Increased awareness of dementia as a long-term condition and the effects of it on families and carers