The Dementia-Friendly Sensory Garden was opened recently at Dementia Australia’s office in North Ryde, NSW. This follows on from the success of a similar garden opened at the organisation’s Port Macquarie site last year, and comes after extensive consumer consultation.
The garden offers a multi-purpose, therapeutic space that stimulates and calms the senses. For people living with dementia, the benefits are physical, emotional and psychological, with fine motor skills being encouraged, memories stimulated and cognition improved. For those caring for loved ones with a dementia diagnosis, the garden can be a peaceful place of respite while their family member participates in one of our on-site programs.
Activities that can take place in the garden include painting, talks, educational programs, bocce, pruning, planting seedlings, as well as harvesting produce from the herb and vegetable garden. These activities – and the design of the garden itself – all contribute to a full sensory experience.
At the opening, Dementia Advocate Helen James spoke about her involvement as part of the consumer brainstorming group, and Dementia Australia Ambassador The Hon. John Watkins AM also addressed guests.
Dementia Australia’s thanks go to everyone who helped make this incredible project a reality. Financial support came from generous individual donors and a corporate donation from SC Johnson. Meanwhile, the design of the garden was completed by Sym Studio, building of the garden was completed by Carl Gilmore Landscapes, and dementia-friendly signage was provided by Botany Bay Design Solutions.