As the weather warms up it gives ample opportunity for getting outside and getting active. Staying active mentally and physically has been proven to slow the progression of memory changes. Many caregivers struggle to find things that engage their loved one in without push-back. Getting outside can open up many opportunities for activities with less struggle and resistance. Gardening is a natural way to get out of the house with loved ones. This is a great stress relieving activity for both the caregiver and your loved one with memory loss.
Gardening has been on the rise in use in therapy interventions for all types of conditions and Alzheimer’s and dementia are a perfect fit for this type of activity. This activity pulls memories from our childhoods and can stimulate long term memory in our brains. It gives a sense of purpose and meaning to the day. Many people with memory loss struggle to do multiple steps for tasks. Gardening can be as easy as holding a hose and pointing it in the direction of the plant (it makes sense to their brain and does not have many steps to the task)
- Get different seed varieties and sort the packages and discussing where you plant these types of plants
- Start plants in peat pots and have them water them inside.
- Plant in pots or places that can be elevated to avoid stooping over.
- The person can weed and maintain the soil around the plants.
- Water the plants with hose or watering can
- Spray plants with all natural germicides (homemade varieties with dish soap) for pest control
- Picking seed off plants or the fruit or vegetables that have been produced.
- Reminisce on gardening topics, what did they plant, who did they do it with, etc.
- Use sunscreen and hats for sun protection
- Make sure all plants are non-toxic
- Having a bird feeder in the area can also provide opportunities for enjoyment.