The Berwick Villa Maria Aged Care Residence has an excellent example of a garden designed specifically to cater to the needs of individuals with dementia. The garden has incorporated many features of a sensory garden, such as a music sensory board, and staff have coupled this with specifically designed social therapy groups where individuals can share their reminiscences, memories and experiences. The staff have also arranged exercise groups that make use of the garden and schedule social and arts and crafts activities in the garden as well.
The garden also utilises many of the principles and tips discussed on our Dementia Gardens Page, with raised garden beds for accessibility, wheelchair access, rubber paths for safety, as well as bridges and gates to help delineate spaces. It has a bus stop, letter box and shed, catering to social needs and fostering the use of the garden as a place of meaningful activity.
Independence is balanced with safety as residents can move from the inside to the outside freely but an alarm sounds when the door is opened so that staff know when someone has gone outside to the garden. As a result, the number of falls outside have been reduced since the development of this specialised garden.
The garden is peaceful and secure with the implementation of appropriate fencing. There are also lovely garden views from the windows but there are screening garden beds installed to provide privacy to those inside and those in the garden.