A green fingered approach to help men with Dementia

New gardening sessions to engage and support men with dementia have recently started in Cornwall.

A green fingered approach to help men with Dementia

The Horticultural Memory Café has been set-up by healthcare professionals from the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and recently opened at Glen Carne near St Agnes.

Primary Care Dementia Practitioners, Amelia James and Jess Joseph, who were instrumental in setting up the Horticultural Memory Café said, “The idea of male only sessions evolved
after some of our patients suggested they would rather be doing something more practical, but still wanted to be part of a group.”

“There are many community initiatives to help people who have been diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; the more common are in the form of a Memory Café. These usually involve listening to music, taking part in creative art and also offer an opportunity for people with memory problems or Dementia, and those who care for them, to drop in for a chat and a drink in a friendly and informal setting.”

“The group enables people with dementia to enjoy doing a range of horticultural activities which are suited to participant’s abilities.”

“Horticultural therapy is a way of providing valuable social interaction without the emphasis being around talking or singing.  Many of the men are also isolated and have limited interactions with other people within their community.”

Bev Chapman, Clinical Lead for Complex Care and Dementia at the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, “Mental problems can be very scary and knowing that you can still do things that are rewarding and enjoyable can be very beneficial, gardening is filled with opportunities to exercise the mind and body, which helps keep motivation levels high.”

The Horticultural Memory Café was made possible by the generosity of Glen Carne a supported housing charity near St Agnes that supports clients with a range of complex needs and offers accommodation, training and volunteering opportunities.

Mathew Gavan, Chief Executive Officer at Glen Carne said, “We were delighted to be able to help Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust with a location and facilities to support this valuable and rewarding project.”

“This initiative is an excellent example of how organisations and charities can work together for the benefit of different client groups and agencies in these ever changing times.”