How gardening can bring back happy memories

North Devon Gazette

Dementia Support Trust North and South Molton are delighted to have been awarded funding by One Northern Devon's Healthy Ageing In Northern Devon project (HAND).

The funding will be used to develop a gardening activities programme for those living with dementia in South Molton and surrounding villages. The registered charity has set up free weekly Gardening Club groups in South Molton, as well as free gardening home visit sessions. Â

Members have the chance to take part in meaningful activities, to empower, increase confidence, reduce isolation, help mental health and to bring people that are living with dementia together to provide support and reassurance to one another. Â

Harriet, the founder of the charity and a dementia qualified volunteer, said: “Our aim is to make activities accessible to all by offering all our services free of charge Monday to Friday, having the option of attending a group, an individual session at the Amory Centre, coffee shop or a home-activities visit.” Â

The members have been busy potting spring flowers, flower arranging and creating a herb garden in the Amory Centre, South Molton at the Tuesday and Wednesday morning sessions. Â

Gardening provides lots of opportunities for reminiscing activities using all our senses. The smell of roses, lavender or even horse manure can evoke memories. Handling old tools or tasting fresh tomatoes can stimulate conversations and shared experiences. Â

Even just a walk outside listening to birds chirping or leaves rustling can be therapeutic and distract someone from anxious thoughts. The hope is that gardening activities will spark up conversations and bring back happy memories, as well as improving the quality of life for those living with dementia and those they care about. Â

Many carers choose to stay at the sessions, as they like to see their loved one engaged, smiling and having fun. During home visits, the group are creative and resourceful and bring nature inside, potting plants, bringing in flowers, herbs and planting vegetables. Â

The benefits are endless and it is a purposeful and therapeutic activity for people living with dementia. The home visits also give family members and carers a chance to have some much-needed respite.Â