Creating a Dementia Friendly Garden

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Creating a Dementia Friendly Garden

A Dementia Friendly Garden is about creating a space that a person living with Dementia can enjoy whilst feeling safe and content.

Being outside and able to enjoy the fresh air can have massive benefits on mental health and wellbeing and having a safe outdoor space of their own to enjoy can help to reduce stress and anxiety as well as giving them a space to enjoy independently, whilst they are able to, or with others.

Some of the things to consider when creating a Dementia Friendly garden, or outside area, are:

Safety First!

Ensuring walkways and areas are as level as possible will help to create a Dementia Friendly Garden to reduce the risk of trips and falls and making it much easier for the individual living with Dementia to move around.

If you do have higher levels or steps, using handrails for extra support and ensuring they are easy to see (and not camouflaged or masked by shrubbery/flowers/bushes) will help to minimise any risk of falls.

You should also be mindful of any slippy services, especially decking when it gets wet (this can be an accident waiting to happen!).

You may also want to consider specialist flooring that is non-slip or even surfaces that provide a softer landing, if a loved one is prone to falls.

Safe & Secure

Ensuring the garden is not only safe but also secure ensures peace of mind for you whilst keeping your loved one safe!

As we know, it is not unusual for our loved ones living with Dementia to get confused and disorientated; ensuring the garden is secure and there is minimal risk of our loved ones leaving without us being made aware is extremely important.

You do not have to use padlocks and treat the garden like a gated prison but you may want to consider secure fencing covered with climbing plants, trellis or other garden ornaments and features that still look pretty and ornate (and can be enjoyed!) but help to protect your loved one.

Take the weight off your feet

Having a lovely garden is brilliant and an outside space for our loved ones to enjoy and spend time in is a bonus whether living with Dementia or not, however seating is a must!

We all need to take the weight off of our feet from time to time and spending time in the garden is no exception.

Having plenty of seating options available is advantageous to all of us, no matter what our age, and means we can spend more time in the garden enjoying our surroundings and breathing in the fresh air!

Bird Song

Encouraging birds and wildlife into the garden can provide a great activity for those living with Dementia (not to mention how calming and relaxing it can be to sit and watch or listen to the birds!).

Other animals that you may want to think about encouraging into the garden are hedgehogs, bugs, butterflies and even frogs.

GET INVOLVED!

Allowing your loved one living with Dementia to get involved in the Garden and Gardening Activities is a great way to spend time outside together and when they are pottering about alone.

Activities in the garden can give someone living with Dementia a sense of purpose and increase their self-esteem and overall mood.

Some activities you may want to consider are; weeding, pruning, planting seeds and vegetables. You may even want to invest in some garden games and activities like a large jenga set, swingball or connect four.

Have you created a Dementia Friendly garden that you could share photographs of, or have you got some of your own tips to share?

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

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How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

Dementia is often associated with growing older and is frequently mistaken for a ‘normal’ part of ageing…Dementia is NOT an inevitable consequence of ageing! 

The World Health Organization (WHO) have recently updated their guidance on Dementia and suggest that the most effective way to prevent Dementia is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, what does a healthy lifestyle look like?

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet has benefits, not only in terms of Dementia, but in relation to our overall health and wellbeing. Following a healthy diet can also prevent other conditions and medical complications, such as reducing blood pressure and preventing or controlling Diabetes and other complications associated with weight gain and obesity.

There is evidence that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for  cognitive function and therefore preventing Dementia. A healthy diet is often suggested to be high in plant-based foods and low in meats.

Other foods that are thought to offer a positive contribution to preventing Dementia are fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and coffee. Those that have a high consumption of fish in their diet are linked to lower memory decline.

Regular Exercise / Physical Activity

Physical Activity is associated with brain health and can have a positive effect on the brain structure.

WHO has suggested that physical activity and regular exercise could prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Similarly to maintaining a healthy diet, taking part in regular exercise will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing – physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Healthy Blood Pressure

Healthy blood pressure will be achieved where no Hypertension (high blood pressure) is present. High blood pressure could increase the risk of developing Dementia.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can be achieved through medication, if it is not possible to control and manage this yourself through diet and exercise (medical advice should always be sought).

As with the previous steps that can be taken to prevent Dementia, maintaining a healthy blood pressure will also have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Cholesterol Level

Similarly to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, we should also look to manage and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Unhealthy cholesterol levels is known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high cholesterol levels and the development of Dementia and so managing  a healthy cholesterol level, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Dementia.

Keeping the Mind Active

Keeping your mind active has a wealth of benefits throughout your entire life and shouldn’t stop as we grow older. 

Cognitive stimulation and activity can prevent or reduce cognitive decline.

Activities to keep the mind active can be achieved for all abilities from puzzles to wordsearches, crosswords, sudoku or even a Rubik’s Cube!

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy could also be used to promote and encourage cognitive activity.

Stop Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally and there is evidence to suggest a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits and help to contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.

As of yet, there is no cure for Dementia but with continuing research, and the condition affecting so many lives, this is something we strive for.

There is not just one cause for Dementia. As we know, Dementia is a condition that takes a variety of forms and presents very differently depending on the individual.

Living a healthy lifestyle not only has the potential to prevent, or at least push back, Dementia, it also encourages and promotes a better quality of life and can prevent so many other conditions and medical complications.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

Rubik’s and Dementia

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Rubik’s and Dementia

Rubik’s cubes and Dementia…what is the link?

Well, let us enlighten you!

 

The Rubik’s Cube is often referred to as the IMPOSSIBLE TOY but everyone knows the iconic cube and it often brings back memories from childhood, whether that be elation at solving the cube or frustration at not being able to!

We are so passionate about the positive benefits that the Rubik’s Cube can have, not only for the younger generations but for ALL of us! Some of the benefits that we have already seen include include; dexterity, coordination, memory improvement as well as a reduction in anxiety, getting social, engaging and socialising with others (and maybe even those that you wouldn’t usually!).

So, where do we come in and what do we do?

We teach people, largely the older generation (we are talking 35plus, so definitely not old!), how to SOLVE THE RUBIK’S CUBE.

We have taken solving the Rubik’s cube and simplified it to open it up to all ages and abilities. Through trial and error, and with the help of a group of elderly participants, we have devised a course of eight sessions.

We have now filmed the videos to accompany the sessions and these are in the final stage of editing and so will be available for participants to watch and practise in between sessions. We will be sure to share these videos with you all once they are ready 😉

Our main aim is to HAVE FUN but solving the Rubik’s Cube keeps the mind active and helping the residents within a Care Home or Day Centre setting to learn (or re-learn) a skill – solving the Rubik’s cube, whilst having the benefits of improving their hand-eye coordination and giving them something a bit different from the norm.

There is an additional element of looking at whether solving the Rubik’s cube can stimulate and improve short-term memory, a symptom of Dementia that is common across most types of the condition. Keeping the mind active has numerous benefits and can keep connections within the brain communicating to improve a person’s daily activities and communication skills.

The ultimate aim is that the participants we teach can then continue to solve the Rubik’s Cube and keep their mind active but also gain enough confidence to pass on their skills to:

  •         teaching other residents or members of the Care Home and Day Centre;
  •         invite groups of children in (Rainbows/Brownies/Cubs/Beavers/Local Schools etc.)
  •         sharing with their own families
  •         teaching others in the community.

This will mean that once we have finished each project, the participants are left with the skills to develop their learning, activities and engage further with the community, even as our part comes to a close.

So, we are often found in Care Homes and Day Centres teaching our lessons on how to solve the Rubik’s Cube and we are currently in talks with an Autism Charity to develop a scheme for them too as the benefits for those with Autism could be just as positive!

This is a project we at Dementia TLC are super passionate about and are always happy to discuss.

If this is something that you would be interested in for yourself, a Care Home or Day Centre that you are involved in or just want to have a chat or find out more, please do GET IN TOUCH!

 

We couldn’t write an article about this without mentioning our latest involvement with Rubik’s…

🏆GUINNESS WORLD RECORD🏆

We are so proud to be a part of the Guinness World Record for… 

The most contributions to a Rubik’s Mosaic. 

Thank you so much to Rubik’s Brand Limited and Torgeir Amundsen (Cube Arting) and CONGRATULATIONS!

We absolutely LOVE teaching all generations how to solve the Rubik’s Cube and it was our pleasure to help as many as we could to be involved in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD! 🧡

Solving the Rubik’s Cube has so many POSITIVE BENEFITS!

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk