13/11/2018 | Press releases

Dementia-friendly community sensory garden opens at Aldeburgh Hospital

Aldeburgh Garden
From left: Matron Michelle Fletcher, volunteer Jo Richey, visitor Jackie Bull, artist Andy Greenacre, designer of the listening bench David Villiers, volunteer garden team leader and project manager Anne Parsons, volunteers Karen Cartwright and Linda Fisher, at the listening bench.
Picture: Andy Greenacre

A dementia-friendly sensory garden designed to help patients recover quicker and return to their own homes has been opened at Aldeburgh Hospital.

The Aldeburgh Hospital Sensory Garden, funded by the Aldeburgh League of Friends, is open to the whole community and includes an exercise area, pavilion and scented, textured and edible plants.

Wheelchair and child-friendly, the garden also features a listening bench designed by local artist David Villiers and separate wooden slats that can be engraved, both of which are designed to start conversations.

GPs can prescribe their patients to use the garden for activities such as art, music and drama, while a space for theatrical groups as well as children from schools and nurseries to perform has been included too.

Aldeburgh Hospital matron Michelle Fletcher, said:

We are delighted to be able to open the sensory garden to our patients, but also the wider community.

It is a lovely setting that offers peace and tranquillity but also different ways for people to engage with others, especially our patients that suffer from dementia.

Our patients’ time matters and the garden is a focal point of the hospital which will create conversation and stimulation, helping them in their recovery and rehabilitation so they can return to the comfort of their own home as soon as possible.

Sensory garden project manager Anne Parsons, said:

The garden is a beautifully calm place with powerful sense of peace.

Considerable thought has gone into finding ways to stimulate all the senses and to meet the needs of those with sensory impairment, those who have dementia and those with anxiety or depression.

People who are lonely or can no longer manage their own gardens can find peace in a safe space.

The garden was built by a team from Roger Gladwell Landscapes.

Principal electrical engineer at Ingleton Wood, Graham Lutz, said:

This has been a great project to be involved with. We originally started working on the design of the external lighting for the new footpaths, but our involvement increased as the project progressed.

We went on to manage the landscape gardening, carry out some arboricultural tree trimming and replace the fencing. The work also included the installation and improvement of internal emergency escape lighting. The results are fantastic.

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