Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2017

Stunning new ‘sensory’ garden for Deeside dementia patients unveiled

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017

Undergraduates from Ewloe-based Redrow Homes have been helping to bring back the memories of dementia patients after creating a sensory garden at Deeside Community Hospital.

Seven students, who are all undertaking work placements with Redrow Homes across the country, teamed up for a three-day ‘Groundforce’ style makeover project.

Deeside Community Hospital is pioneering a host of projects to help dementia patients regain their sense of purpose and foster new enjoyment of life, in spite of the heartbreaking illness.

The Redrow undergraduates who worked on the scheme were given no budget and had to dig deep into their negotiating skills to garner donations and favours from suppliers and sub-contractors to create the the new garden.

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The garden is part of a suite which includes a purpose designed sitting room as well as a room for crafts and activities.

This was the brainchild of Matron Cheryl Froom and Deborah Fogg, whose aim is to motivate patients and encourage an active lifestyle which can combat the debilitating effects of dementia.

The suite of rooms stimulate all five senses, with music, natural sounds and colourful and fragrant planting and herbs; it also has a beach area and a potting shed, so patients can get involved too.

Dementia support worker Deborah Fogg said;

The garden area outside the ward where the dementia patients stay was largely unused and it was unsuitable for patients with dementia.

It seemed such a shame that the space wasn’t being used properly, so we decided to make it our mission to do something about it.

I have been networking since I have started here at Deeside; I approached local businesses in the area and asked for their support towards the funding of this amazing project of the sensory garden.

I approached Redrow construction and they were more than happy to help and fund the sensory garden.

Some of their sponsored undergraduates have come here and they are all under 25. They had a challenge to get the garden transformed in three days and they had to source all the materials themselves.

Some of their sponsored undergraduates have come here and they are all under 25. They had a challenge to get the garden transformed in three days and they had to source all the materials themselves.

The work the young people have done is amazing, they even designed and built their own bird boxes for the garden and they planned it all themselves.

It’s going to be such a lovely place for our patients to use, most of whom are rehabilitating and it’s now a safe and really pleasant environment for them to be in.

The garden has been fenced off giving patients privacy and the ability to explore the garden with more independence.

There are a number of items in the garden which are designed to encourage memory stimulation such as an old post box and a ‘beach’ area with sand to encourage memories of the seaside.

Clare Horton, new entrant programmes manager for Redrow said:

We’re a local Welsh business so we wanted to help and when Debbie got in touch we knew we definitely wanted to say yes.

All the students are university industrial placement students so it’s great for them as they get to plan on a small scale what they will eventually do on a large scale.

They have really planned it carefully, the garden is designed to stimulate the senses and encourage reminiscence.

They have a potting shed that they can do practical activities in. There’s also a herb garden to stimulate their sense of smell and benches for them to sit and rest.

We hope that it will encourage patients who have difficulty talking to communicate.

Redrow undergraduate trainee Jean Pierre Ebanga who worked as one of the garden project managers

Student Jean-Pierre Ebanga from University of Leeds said:

I’m an undergraduate trainee and this project is great for me to be involved in.

It’s a great opportunity to develop my skills and most importantly it’s so good to give back to the community and do a project like this.

I have really enjoyed it and it feels very worthwhile doing this and knowing it will benefit so many dementia patients here.

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