The Enquirer - January 2014

The Enquirer - January 2014

The Enquirer

Originally published on 10th January 2014 Download a copy

An innovative sensory garden is to launch a flourishing range of help for Southend residents living with dementia.

These include – a host of advice sessions about dementia being held in libraries throughout Southend from Monday 20th January, along with opportunities for people to find out more about the Dementia Friends scheme.

The specialist garden called: ‘Walkway to a longer Life’ has just been completed and from Saturday 1st March will regularly be available for people living with Dementia to visit from across the borough.

It is based at St Martin’s Residential Care Home, Imperial Avenue, Westcliff, run by The Southend-on-Sea Darby and Joan Organisation and was created with the help of £270,645 specialist Department of Health funding.

The garden has been designed by Sean Butler, owner of Cube 1994 - an Essex based garden design and build company with expertise in developing sensory gardens – in conjunction with staff and relatives from St Martin’s, and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Dementia Manager, Chris Harris.

As well as incorporating the best design principles for dementia care and research from the Kings Fund Institute on Enhancing the Healing Environment, it is set to become a national example of excellence in dementia care.

The garden is specifically designed to help with challenging behaviours often associated with dementia, to help trigger memories, and stimulate the senses with floral fragrances and colours.

There are also activity areas for no-bend vegetable growing and workshops for painting and small craft work. To enquire about visiting the garden, please call St Martin’s Residential Care Home on 01702 475891.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Councillor Lesley Salter said:

“We were thrilled to have won funding for this terrific project and are now absolutely delighted to see how tremendously it has turned out

“We hope it will be of lasting benefit to those living with Dementia in Southend, and will set a national standard for others to follow.

“Staff at St Martin’s Care Home – a specialist home for those living with dementia – will be monitoring behaviour changes in their residents who use the garden, to assess how it is helping them, and to enable the success of the project to be fully evaluated.

“The garden reinforces the Council’s commitment to people with dementia and their carers within Southend, and supports the ‘Worried about Your Memory’ awareness events we are staging at all the branch libraries and other community venues in the borough from this month until March.

“We have extended the scope of these events following their great success last year to enable as many people as possible to attend.

“As well as these sessions we are also inviting people to find out more about dementia through the Dementia Friends scheme, so we will be holding other events to explain what this involves.”

The dementia garden offers:

  • A path in a figure of eight pattern. This encourages walking and avoids the risk of becoming typically enraged by reaching a boundary wall or fence
  • A colourful and fragrant rose garden to stimulate the senses
  • A wild flower meadow and also a village green style area with bus stop and post box to trigger memories
  • A social area with garden games and a place where residents can help cultivate plants

The forthcoming events across Southend to raise awareness of dementia and memory problems are being run in conjunction with Public Health, SEPT, the Alzheimer’s Society and Southend Carers and aim to give residents information about:

  • What can cause problems with your memory
  • The facts and myths about dementia
  • What services are available in Southend for people with memory problems and dementia
  • Where to go for help
  • Living well with dementia
  • Information for people who care for someone with dementia

To find out where your local event is call: 01702 215008 ext. 5316 or email: dementiasupport@southend.gov.uk.