Latest News » For seniors with dementia, gardens can be a source of peace and calm

Spending time in the garden can help calm feelings of anxiety in seniors with dementia.

Spending time in the garden can help calm feelings of anxiety in seniors with dementia.

While there is as of yet no cure for dementia, there are options that seniors suffering from failing brain health or memory loss can pursue to help ease their symptoms and create more peaceful and soothing lifestyles. Recent research suggests that simply spending time in a garden can help create a sense of a calm in dementia patients.

According to the HealthDay News, a team of British researchers recently reviewed 17 past dementia studies and determined that seniors who sit or walk through a garden, or water plants, found greater relief for dementia-related anxiety. While the effects are not fully understood — and their benefits seem to be limited and likely not a one-size-fits-all solution — the evidence seems to point to some sort of positive association between relaxing dementia symptoms and spending time outdoors.

As Dr. Mark Stecker, the Winthrop-University Hospital chairman of neurosciences, notes, tending to gardens — however casually — can provide a nice distraction for dementia patients that takes their mind off whatever pain may be triggering their feelings of agitation and anxiety. Gardens in particular may prove to be effective sources of calm just because they help patients subconsciously recall happy memories and past experiences.

"When the brain is impaired, we go back to our basic instincts," Stecker tells the source. "Many people have always enjoyed the outdoors. They may not have an explicit memory of that, but it's an implicit memory. And they find it comforting to be outside."

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