• Earzz
  • SENSORY GARDENS MONTH: Beyond Blooms and Benches – Where do are green fingers go next?

    For residents in care homes, particularly those living with dementia, sensory gardens offer a haven for relaxation, stimulation, and reconnection with the natural world. But these calming spaces have evolved beyond simple flower beds and benches. Modern sensory gardens are carefully designed to engage all five senses, promoting well-being and sparking memories. Let’s explore how sensory gardens have changed and what the future holds…

    A Multi-Sensory Oasis

    Modern sensory gardens in care homes go beyond visual aesthetics. They incorporate elements that stimulate all five senses:

    • Sight: Vibrant flowers, contrasting colours, and textural variations in plants and pathways provide visual interest. Water features, wind chimes, and bird feeders add dynamic elements.
    • Smell: Fragrant herbs, scented flowers, and fruit trees stimulate the sense of smell and evoke memories.
    • Touch: Plants with different textures, like soft herbs or smooth pebbles, encourage tactile exploration. Raised planting beds allow residents to safely touch and interact with plants.
    • Sound: Wind chimes, tinkling water features, and bird song create a calming soundscape. Music systems can be incorporated for personalised playlists that evoke memories.
    • Taste: Herb gardens allow residents to participate in growing their own food, connecting them with the source of their meals. Raised fruit trees provide opportunities for safe and supervised fruit picking and tasting.

    Therapeutic Benefits and Improved Quality of Life

    Sensory gardens offer a range of therapeutic benefits for care home residents:

    • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: The calming and stimulating environment promotes relaxation and reduces feelings of anxiety or agitation.
    • Improved Mood and Cognitive Function: Engagement with the natural world and sensory stimulation can improve mood and cognitive function, especially for those with dementia.
    • Enhanced Social Interaction: Sensory gardens provide a safe space for residents to interact with each other and staff, fostering socialisation and reducing feelings of isolation.
    • Memory Stimulation: Familiar scents, textures, and sounds can trigger positive memories, promoting reminiscence and a sense of well-being.
    • Increased Physical Activity: Encouraging safe exploration and interaction with the garden can motivate residents to engage in gentle physical activity.

    The Future of Sensory Gardens in UK Care Homes

    The future of sensory gardens in UK care homes promises even greater personalisation and therapeutic integration:

    • Personalised Design Based on Resident Needs: Gardens will be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of residents. This may involve incorporating features that cater to different stages of dementia or cultural backgrounds.
    • Focus on Sustainability and Environmental Therapy: Sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting and composting can be incorporated, offering residents opportunities to engage in environmentally friendly activities.
    • Technology Integration: Interactive elements like touch-screen displays with nature sounds or calming visuals can be incorporated to enhance the sensory experience.
    • Multi-Generational Spaces: Care home gardens may evolve into shared spaces for residents, their families, and even local schools, fostering intergenerational connections and a sense of community.
    • Training and Staff Involvement: Care home staff will receive training on the therapeutic benefits of sensory gardens, empowering them to use the space effectively to support residents’ well-being.

    A Sanctuary for the Senses

    Sensory gardens have become an essential element of modern care homes. By offering a multi-sensory experience, they promote relaxation, stimulation, and improved quality of life for residents. As understanding of sensory therapy evolves, care home managers can expect even more innovative approaches, creating a future where sensory gardens become true sanctuaries for the senses, fostering well-being and cherished memories.

    Creating a stimulating and enriching environment is crucial for care home residents. Sensory gardens offer a unique opportunity to connect residents with nature, spark positive memories, and improve their overall well-being.

    Are you looking for Sensory Garden solutions for your organisation? The Care Forum can help!

    Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.