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Saturday, 4 August, 2001, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
Garden of delights for care home
John and Molly Munro, with nurse Chores Rowlands, enjoy the special sensory garden
John and Molly Munro, with nurse Chris Rowlands, enjoy the special sensory garden
The sensory sensations of a special garden are being enjoyed by residents at a care home for people with dementia.

The garden, which stimulates all five senses, includes scented flowers, wind chimes, water features and herbs that crackle under foot.

It was the idea of Chris Rowlands, the charge nurse who runs the home.

Before the garden was developed, it boasted just a solitary patch of daffodils.

John Alty and care assistant Mike Flintoff
John Alty and care assistant Mike Flintoff
But Mr Rowlands said a course he attended outlined the benefits of a sensory garden for patients with dementia.

He took the ideas back to Bredon House, home to 19 dementia sufferers at Bupa's Court House care home in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Transformation

With the help of colleagues and gardener John Whitehead, he transformed the garden at a cost of just 3,000.

Mr Rowlands told BBC News Online: "Before we built this, it was unsafe and residents were unable to walk out there."


It helps them relax

Chris Rowlands
But he said: "Now they really enjoy it".

The garden has mock orange flowers - which as their name suggests smell fruity - lilac, honeysuckle and jasmine.

Thyme is built into cracks in the patio so that it crackles when residents walk on it, releasing the scent of the herb.

Mr Rowlands said: "One of the consequences of Alzheimer's Disease is that people wander, now they can wander in this garden.

"It helps them relax."

He said research was being carried out into the effects of aromatherapy on dementia, with jasmine recognised as being effective in calming agitation.

The garden, developed over three months earlier this year, has also been designed so that wherever residents sit, they are facing into the garden so they do not feel enclosed.

The garden is open to the public, and it is hoped other local dementia groups will be able to enjoy it.

See also:

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