Tips to design and build a garden for Alzheimer's sufferers.

This article will help if you are constructing, or adapting a garden to create a safe and interesting place for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. 

If you are adapting the layout of a garden for a person with Alzheimer's, you may find the tips and advice I have included on other pages helpful too. 

Small,safe, interesting and secure garden for Alzheimer's
Small,safe, interesting and secure Alzheimer's garden

interest and accessibility are important when planning a garden for folk with Dementia. Security will also be a major factor to avoid folk wandering off.

In addition to interest, accessibility, safety and resting places another important consideration when planning a garden for folk with Dementia is it will need to be secure to avoid wandering off.

Safety in a garden for a person with dementia.  When you are planning a garden for a person with Alzheimer's you will need to think about a
 clearly defined and secure perimeter.  A good solid six ft high fence is a relatively low cost and safe option. High stone or brick walls are another one, providing the stones are well mortared and not offering a foothold.

Benches and tables should be heavy and stable with seat heights about 18 inches high. Raised beds with a wide top make great seats. Tables, benches and raised beds shouldn't be placed near the perimeter fence or wall, to avoid the temptation to climb out and explore the outside world.

A shady area and protection from wind and rain is a must. A simple sturdy open fronted shed made from wood, works well. Protection from the sun is very important as some medication prescribed for people with Alzheimer's can make the skin prone to sunburn, but avoid dark, shadowy areas. People with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia can sometimes link dark, shadowy areas with negative events.

A safe layout design for gardening with Alzheimer's is one with good easy access, a figure-of-eight looped path, or for smaller areas, a single loop that allows easy access outside, but always leads back to their house. The garden should be constructed for use by the able-bodied as well as those with mobility problems. Visibility and observation needs to be planned in, so carers can relax.

Pathways should be smooth sound and as people with Alzheimer's and dementia do tend to lose physical skills and ability over time, wide enough to take a wheelchair, preferably without steep gradients or steep steps and free of clutter like plant pots. Handrails will help people who have difficulty walking and also act as a guide way to avoid confusion.

I have covered mobility garden design in more detail here  disabled gardening.

Choosing plants for a garden designed for people with  Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.

People with Alzheimer's who love gardening, still like gardening, so take advantage of their knowledge and experience by including them in planning, designing and especially choosing planting plants. Plant some off their favorite flowers.

Almost any fruit, vegetables and flowers can be included, but avoid poisonous plants and plants that cause skin rashes and irritation, or have sharp leaves or thorns. Different textures, many colours and a variety in height and spread add interest will add interest.   Herbs are especially important plants, planted near the edge of borders so that they give of their scent when touched or brushed against.
 
  

We sometimes neglect the needs of carers, but even a few minutes of peace and quiet, knowing the person they care for is safe in a nice garden, can give carers that so necessary time, to recharge their batteries.

An Alzheimer's Garden Plan should be designed with carers in mind too.

Access to a safe garden designed for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, who might be restless, agitated and who like to walk a lot, can meet a lot of the needs for people with other forms of dementia, and just as important, meet some of the needs of the carers, giving a carer, time to rest, time to reflect, time to remember, a break to relieve tension, time for your separate pursuits and time to be your own person for a while.

We sometimes neglect the needs of carers, but even a few minutes of peace and quiet, knowing the person they care for is safe in a nice garden, can give them that so necessary time, to recharge their batteries. 

If the person caring for folk with 
Alzheimer's likes gardening that's a bonus too, fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers for the house, herbs to touch and a hobby.

It need not cost a fortune, but will give you both, the person with Alzheimer's and the person who Cares, something back.

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