If you provide care for clients who have dementia, you know the value of focusing your care on the hobbies your clients enjoyed in the past.
Tapping into a person's interests can not only spark memories, it can kindle joy. While joy is an emotion that can be rare for people with Alzheimer's/dementia, it's one that every person deserves to feel—and is capable of feeling—at every stage of the disease, and it's one that you can nurture.
With the just-right level of support and assistance from you, tending to flowers and other plants can also help a person connect to the past and the future. While working with you, a person might recall happy memories in a garden when her children were kids, or she might look forward to enjoying homegrown squash at an autumn harvest festival in her care community or her home's neighborhood.
Nurturing mind, body, and spirit in this way can even help a client function with more dexterity, independence, or confidence. By facilitating his best ability to function, you can help him be more than a care receiver—you can help him be a caregiver again too, as he waters a garden, a pot of rosemary, or a tomato plant and tends to its health.
Learn more about horticultural therapy in "Alzheimer's and Dementia Care: Bringing the Garden Indoors."
Also check out The Garden Book
for stage-specific therapeutic gardening activities. Designed for occupational and physical therapists who work with people who have Alzheimer's/dementia, the book offers guidance and directions on how to adapt winter, spring, summer, and fall activities for each person in your care and each stage of dementia.