Sensory: relating to sensation or the physical senses; transmitted or perceived by the senses.
We’ve touched on (no pun intended) how sensory elements; whether they be tactile or of another sense, can and should be used in dementia care as well as games. We’ve researched relaxing places and even looked into virtual reality in dementia care.
We’d always wanted to offer relaxing gardens around The Dementia Cafe but recently we found out about therapeutic gardens. Gardens that are sensory spaces in their own right. That made our ears twitch … and we’re looking into exactly what these spaces mean… If you follow us on IG you may already have seen a few images pop up, that we shouted out from our friends at: @therapeuticgardens
“Well-planned spaces will help to facilitate a number of therapies available to People with medical conditions, such as horticultural therapy, nature as therapy and sensory integration therapy. To read more about how to create sensory gardens you can read our new section on the website. The Therapeutic Gardens website acts as both an information hub for those seeking knowledge about the benefits, research and principles involved in building these therapeutic spaces.”
At the DC, we particularly like the idea of a living wall. We spotted this on the TG IG page:
“Closer to nature Via Green walls not only look great, they provide increased air humidity, reducing the ambient temperature and assist in the recycling of noxious gases.” -TG
The recycling of noxious gases is very important to us in dementia care, especially as recent studies have suggested that air pollution may be a contributing factor in developing dementia. What if we could create a beautiful space, a sanctuary, that offers not only a sensory experience at The Dementia Cafe but that also helps to clean the air? How Amazing, if we can.
When we think senses, many think of sight and touch. We’ll be adding a blog post on full sensory experiences soon but what we found particularly interesting was smell. From Therapeutic Gardens, we were inspired by this image:
“Did you know that Smell is one of our strongest senses?. When we breathe in an aroma, scent molecules travel through the nose to the olfactory membrane. The receptors there recognize scent molecules and send messages to the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system holds involuntary emotional responses, and we assign emotions to the aromas we breathe in. Aromas can be a powerful way to evoke emotions and lift your mood.”
Our personal favorite to date is a garden that features water in the most delicate and beautiful way:
Therapeutic Gardens: “Gardens for wellness… The therapeutic effects of water in the landscape help to lower blood pressure and improve physical and mental health.”
One that really tickled us is Vernie, the giant squid:
Therapeutic Gardens: “Meet Vernie the giant squid installation by moradavaga. People can speak and hear through the arms of the giant squid. Using individual electric cable protectors wrapped around a single structure. the individual pipes extend from the installation, winding round different objects and areas of the park. visitors can speak into the arms and eyes of the sea life creature, allowing them to hear their voice echo into the center of the structure. the interactive sound piece acts as a playful tool for passers-by of all ages, and makes an interesting use of the space within the park.”
Sensory gardens are ideal for those with dementia. We’re also concerned with those living with and or adjusting to loved one’s living with dementia. Being a friend or family member of a person who has dementia is never easy. We all need to take time out now and then. Without our own strength we cannot offer support to those around us. We spotted this on the Therapeutic Gardens IG and just as they explain, it seems an ideal place to sit and gather thoughts.
“Life is so busy from day to day that it’s hard to find a way to just hang out and relax. Being able to sit outside and enjoy the peacefulness of Mother Nature can be very therapeutic. The hammock chair helps with decreasing health issues. It has been proven to be great for people who suffer from back pain. The hammock chair does not have any bars or rods putting pressure on the back or spine. Not only can you spend time just hanging around while being completely relaxed, but you can also take the pressure off of your body. It’s also good for decreasing stress and pressure within your muscles.”
We know that the longer the stress is kept at bay for at-home carers and the longer loved ones living with dementia are kept mentally stimulated and active, the longer they can remain at home. For a loved one to go into full time residential care is not an easy decision for any family. The cost of care is also fast becoming a national issue. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International: “There are an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia in 2015. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.”
If a healing, relaxing space can take the pressure off for just a few hours, wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift to offer. That is our primary goal at the DC.
Therapeutic gardens: “Healing through nature … Research proves that nature and natural surroundings aid and speed the healing process as well as being conducive to a patients mental and physical wellbeing.”
Our aim is and always has been, at The Dementia Cafe: To construct a cafe that is purpose built for those with dementia and their loved ones to use for free. With your help, we can make this idea a reality. Please show your support by following us on social media and stay tuned for updates, information and support. Thank you.
For more on Sensory gardens, head to Therapeutic Garden’s website: www.therapeuticgardens.com.au