I just received this webinar invitation from Garuth Chalfont, who is a pioneer in using nature with those who are living with dementia. I interviewed Garuth for my upcoming book and he is filled with great ideas. I am going to attend his free webinar and I thought it could be of interest to you. Please feel free to share this with others. It’s a unique opportunity to learn from innovators in this creative field.
www.lancaster.ac.uk/fhm/research/centre-for-ageing-research/#newsampevents Click on the link and simply scroll down to “Non-drug Treatments to Intervene and Prevent Dementia.” To register, email Jan and she will put you on the list.
Meanwhile, these tips from Garuth are featured in Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together, which comes out in September.
“Research shows that nature-based activity is therapeutic and is essentially a form of treatment for dementia symptoms, helping a person remain at home longer,” says Garuth Chalfont PhD, American Society of Landscape Architects, and author of the Dementia Green Care Handbook. (You can download this book for free by going to Garuth’s website: www.chalfontdesign.com/ Garuth is internationally known for his work in designing, building and researching gardens that benefit people with dementia. He also partners with care facilities and families, helping them integrate nature into their living quarters and their outdoors.
Gathering flowers, walking a tree-lined sidewalk, plucking a cherry tomato off its vine, watering a house plant, gazing out the window at chickadees—these meaningful natural activities increase pleasure, relaxation, social interactions, and sensory stimulation.
“Enjoying the garden goes beyond just walking around,” Garuth says.
Imagine you’re hosting a guided tour of your yard. What is the most thrilling part of your lawn? A blooming rose bush? A bird bath? A wise old fir tree?
“By creating a tour, you’re taking a new look at your environment. You’re telling a story and engaging your partner,” Garuth says.
Stir up conversation by focusing on one area at a time. Perhaps discuss the hanging bird feeder. Or a seashell you two found on your last vacation. Then observe the birdbath or other water feature. Do you have a bench? Sit down and talk about what you see. Create a wow ending with something that is fun and dramatic, such as a ceramic gnome peeking from behind a rock. Seeing your yard as a living story may inspire you to add in a playful spinner, a cute stone animal, or a beautiful rock.
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.
COMING SOON: CONNECTING IN THE LAND OF DEMENTIA: CREATIVE ACTIVITIES TO EXPLORE TOGETHER