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Gardens can Have Positive Effects on Dementia Patients

First Posted: Jul 15, 2014 03:57 AM EDT

A New research found that setting up gardens in care homes offer positive therapeutic benefits to people suffering from dementia.

Several pieces of research, conducted earlier, highlight how garden therapy can help in caring for dementia patients. Gardens have several healing qualities. They offer psychological benefits by calming down, lowering stress and blood pressure levels, and eventually reducing problems linked with dementia-like aggression.

Supporting this is the new study led by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School. The researchers reviewed the finding of 17 different research pieces and found that the outdoor spaces offer environments that boost relaxation, encourage physical activity and also lowers agitation among people.

The study's lead researcher, Rebecca Whear, said: "There is an increasing interest in improving dementia symptoms without the use of drugs. We think that gardens could be benefitting dementia sufferers by providing them with sensory stimulation and an environment that triggers memories. They not only present an opportunity to relax in a calming setting, but also to remember skills and habits that have brought enjoyment in the past."

The systematic review of 17 studies revealed that gardens also offer welcome spaces for interaction with visitors, which helps stimulate memories in dementia patients and also offers well-being opportunities for families and staff.

Dr Ruth Garside, an expert in evidence synthesis and one of the paper's authors, said: "There's a lot we don't know about how a garden's design and setting influences its ability to affect wellbeing, yet it's clear that these spaces need to offer a range of ways of interacting - to suit different people's preferences and needs. We want to pursue these answers to ensure that care experiences can be maximised for sufferers of dementia, their carers and families."

The study was included in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

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