Dementia-friendly garden opens

25.5.2017 | Social Witness, Mission

Corkey House, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) residential care home for older people in north Belfast has become the first of its six care homes to have its own purpose built dementia-friendly garden.

Run in partnership with Choice Housing Association, Corkey House is home to 35 older people. While many of the residents do not have dementia, the garden has been specially designed to provide a relaxing and safe place for those who do.

The garden incorporates many features, including highly fragrant and colourful plants that provide sensory stimulation, safe pathways that will mitigate injuries from potential falls and raised bedding areas for residents to garden themselves.

Rev. John Seawright, convener of the PCI’s Older People’s Services Committee was joined by one of the residents and Michael McDonnell, Choice group chief executive, to plant a special rose bush to commemorate the official opening of the garden.

Mr. Seawright said, “This wonderful dementia-friendly garden will bring joy to many people, and I would like to thank our partner, Choice Housing, for creating it for our residents.”

“As more people are being diagnosed with dementia, we as care providers and as a denomination are responding in a number of ways to enhance and improve the quality of life for those we care for.”

Mr. Seawright continued, “As well as providing professional training for our staff, we also want to provide opportunities for those with dementia to live as full a life as possible. This dementia-friendly garden is one such creative example; it will provide a stimulating yet safe environment that can encourage independence as well as foster relaxation and a sense of calm.”

Michael McDonnell, Choice Group Chief Executive said: “Providing facilities that meet the needs of our communities and enhance tenant lives is a key priority for Choice.  I am proud and enthused by the quality of facilities at Corkey House and the support provided by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

“The new dementia friendly garden is a welcoming place that promotes activity and wellbeing of body and mind. Spaces like this can play a vital role in local life and we wish our residents well as they enjoy and develop the garden together.”

Along with the garden, Corkey’s ‘Vintage CafĂ©’ is another dementia-friendly area of the home that seeks to support people with dementia. Leading to the garden it is decorated in an older style and full of memorabilia, it is place for residents and families to gather, relax and reminisce.

With dementia on the increase, this month’s edition of the Presbyterian Herald looked at faith and dementia. You can read it here.

Caption: One of Corkey House’ residents relaxing in the garden.

Photos: Clockwise, (1) One of Corkey House’s residents plants a commemorative rose bush to mark the official opening of the garden with (left to right) Michael McDonnell, Choice Group Chief Executive, Corkey’s Home Manager Ann Anderson and Rev. John Seawright, convener of the PCI’s Older People’s Services Committee (2) a view of the pathways through the garden.

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