Trial of dementia-specific sensory garden at Chestnut Gardens

Monash Health’s Chestnut Gardens Residential Aged Care facility is the focus of a new study that aims to look at the effects of a dementia-specific garden on the falls and responses of care recipients living with dementia.

Monash Health will be one of the first healthcare organisations in Australia to run a trial of this nature. The trial is particularly important, as the World Health Organisation classes dementia as one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. The Monash Health study, led by Dr Madeline Healy, will be one of very few worldwide investigating this critical matter in detail.

The garden has been a great addition to the centre and provides a serene atmosphere for many care recipients. It is open to 40 care recipients, who can utilise the garden during the day as they please, with assistance available as needed. The garden has great features, including pathways to stroll through, a decking for relaxed sitting, and a functioning hand water pump for added interactivity.

“The care recipients use the garden for morning walks, exercise programs, or just as a means of relaxing together. With automatic doors in place, more care recipients can access the garden easily and wander through as they desire,” says Mouhamed Foladkar, Physiotherapist, Chestnut Gardens. The care recipients look forward to welcoming family members to the garden when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and visits can safely resume.

Employees encourage the use of the garden when possible, to facilitate time in the outdoors, and to increase social interaction. We hope that care recipients will benefit from the addition of the dementia-specific garden and hope to see promising results from the trial.

Approved by Katrina Nankervis, 28 September 

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