New Sensory Garden Unveiled at ‘Outstanding’ Malden House

Malden House in Sidmouth has proudly unveiled its exciting brand new sensory garden for residents and guests to enjoy. The garden has been carefully planned to not only be aesthetically pleasing but to also have multiple health and wellbeing benefits for the residents who live with dementia.

Taking eight weeks to plan and create, the sensory space begun with a shopping trip to purchase plants and seeds while consulting with the residents to create a vision for the space.

Sam Guck is the Chef at Malden House and she had a vision to create the garden: “we always wanted to include scented and edible plants because they have a positive effect on the body, mind and home. There’s something satisfying about nurturing a plant and our residents have been involved with the whole process from beginning to end. We actively encourage our residents to have a hands-on attitude, to dig in and get their hands dirty because that is part of the fun!”

The 19-bed home, registered to care for older people and those living with dementia was awarded 4 ‘Outstanding’ stars for being well led, responsive, caring and effective in May this year and this new facility demonstrates the ongoing commitment to quality care.

Malden House is proud to use sensory stimulation as a type of therapy for those living with dementia. This method of care encourages the elderly resident to engage in activities that stimulate the senses such as taste, sound, smell, touch and sight.

The goal is to encourage the residents and guests to have an emotional reaction, so they can benefit from the sensory environment around them, including:

• Spatial awareness: the design and layout aims to heighten a person’s awareness of what is around them with items of different colours, shapes and sizes.
• Positive plants: ‘Lavender Alley’ is a special area to enhance our senses with therapeutic properties and the herb garden gives our residents fond memories of cooking – selected ones are used to prepare and flavour meals at the home.
• Visiting wildlife: the bird feeder and bug village reassure insects and wildlife such as bees, butterflies and insects to visit the garden, to form a part of the natural habitat.
• Accessible space: the sensory garden is wheelchair friendly with plants and items easily positioned to help those who have restricted mobility.
• Green house activity: is the vital place where growing flowers, seeds, vegetables and wild flower seeds are nurtured by the residents.
• Productive props: the garden includes a bike, a nautical coloured beach hut and a small row boat to encourage storytelling memories of beach holidays.
• A wine garden: a few years ago, the care home decided to plant grape trees that have come to fruition in time for the sensory garden to be opened. The residents find this amusing and have suggested they should make their own wine.
• The craft cross – this is where arts and craft creations are displayed. At present there are beautiful hand painted pebbles, glass balloons and brightly coloured mushrooms to provide visual motivation and interests.

Registered Manager Agnieszka Orlowska comments: “From the moment our residents step in to the garden, we want to take them on a journey of the senses; to touch, taste, smell, hear and see all the wonderful things around them. We put a lot of thought into choosing items that will promote talking points of interest, to create funny moments, laughter, memories and new special times with families when they visit.

“Our garden is great for all ages, especially for the grandchildren who visit so it will help the two generations to explore the sensory space together. I am very proud of the whole team because they have all contributed to this achievement to provide care, comfort and companionship in an environment that is safe and happy for all.”

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