Gardens in care homes could be crucial in helping to stimulate memories for dementia patients, scientists have found.

A Systematic Review of Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence entitled “What Is the Impact of Using Outdoor Spaces Such as Gardens on the Physical and Mental Well-Being of Those With Dementia”? was recently published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

Lead researcher Rebecca Whear of the University of Exeter said: “There is an increasing interest in improving dementia symptoms without the use of drugs. We think that gardens could be benefiting dementia sufferers by providing them with sensory stimulation and an environment that triggers memories.

“They not only present an opportunity to relax in a calming setting, but also to remember skills and habits that have brought enjoyment in the past,” she said.

The research represents the first attempt to bring together findings from a range of studies and has also highlighted several factors that must be overcome if gardens are to be useful in the future care of dementia patients. These include understanding possible hazards that a garden might represent to residents, and ensuring staff have time to let residents enjoy an outdoor space to its full potential.

Residents at 11 UK care homes were included in the research, as well as services in America, China and Europe.

Source:  Nursing Times