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The Dementia: Understand Together showcase garden will feature in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at Bord Bia’s Bloom from May 30 to June 3.

Dementia and reminiscence 

Reminiscence has been found to have a positive effect on quality of life for people living with dementia. Typically people with dementia are better able to recall things from many years ago than recent memories, so reminiscence draws on this strength.

Memories are made of this – Dementia: Understand Together Garden at Bloom 2019

The campaign’s dementia inclusive garden will feature in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at Bord Bia’s Bloom from May 30 to June 3.

The Memories are made of this – Dementia: Understand Together garden creates a space where people living with dementia can reminisce in a welcoming and supportive way.  The garden will be a celebration of all things 1950s – where people in their 60s, 70s and 80s can remember, celebrate and share stories about an era when they were young.

People living with dementia have been central to the design of this garden sharing their memories of the gardens of their youth; working gardens where growing your own vegetables was a natural and often necessary way of life; the manicured front lawns of suburban homes to the stone walls and hay bales remembered from country holidays.  Gardens were part of the rhythm of everyday life, a place to grow food for the family, indulge in a gardening hobby and the background to many family photos.

The metal sculpture represents the growing number of Irish people who are diagnosed with dementia - over 4,000 people each year – and the challenges and struggles of living with the condition.  The interwoven flowers and bed around the sculpture draws on the beauty and individuality of someone living with dementia and the varied experience of each person. It reminds us to “see the person” and not the condition, which helps to dissipate the stigma that still surrounds dementia.

The garden pathway guides you along aspects and features associated with the 1950s. It invites people with dementia, families and friends to walk together and to access and share memories from long ago.

Dementia: Understand Together’s Top Tips to Stimulate Reminiscence in Your Garden:

  1. Find the Scent of a Rose. There is nothing like the scent and elegance of an old tea rose to transport you back in time. Why not consider planting one in your garden later this autumn?
  2. Hit the right note. Why not incorporate features such as wind-chimes to gently transport you to a world of peace and tranquillity? Or perhaps put in a gramophone in your back shed and throw a few shapes with Elvis Presley on the deck?
  3. Be cool as a cucumber. Remember when you’d pop out to the back garden for a head of lettuce, a handful of onions or some rhubarb? Why not install an easy-to-manage vegetable patch? You can start with a small raised bed in your sunniest spot.
  4. Seek the object of the exercise. Do pink flamingos take you back to a bygone world? Why not resurrect your mischievous gnomes and place them around the garden? They are sure to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling and become a real talking point for visitors
  5. Have the Midas Touch. Remember the feeling of those daisies and how you plucked each petal as a kid – “she loves me, she loves me not”? Other flowers and plants that are sure to transport  you include lupins, delphiniums, primulas and, garden favourite, geranium