Sensory garden opens at care home in Westcliff

August 20, 2019

A new sensory garden for people living with dementia has opened at a care home in Westcliff.

Staff, patients and their relatives have been working together to transform the outdoor space at Clifton Lodge in Balmoral Road since April in preparation for the summer months.

It is now home to colourful flowers, solar lights and windmills, beds of aromatic herbs and lavender, feeding stations for visiting birds and a number of seating areas for residents to enjoy with their relatives

Clifton Lodge, run by the Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), is a care home for adults living with dementia and challenging behaviour and aims to ensure residents receive the support they need to live as full a life as possible.

Sandra Woolford, Activities Co-ordinator, came up with the idea of the garden to help enhance the daily lives and well-being of residents and encourage them to stay as physically and mentally active as possible.

She spent her free time and money researching ideas, buying plants and bird feeders, digging flower beds and helping residents get involved with planting and watering.

The transformation was also made possible thanks to the help of patients’ relatives who donated plants, umbrellas for tables and helped paint benches.

Sandra Woolford, Activities Co-ordinator, said: “The garden has never seen so many visitors. It’s fantastic for the residents’ mind, body and general wellbeing and it’s wonderful to watch their expressions as they sit enjoying the fresh air, the aroma of the herbs, the colours of the plants and the visiting birds.

“The garden is a great talking point for residents and provokes memories for many who were keen gardeners before coming to Clifton Lodge. They love to tell me what they have seen in the garden as well as the colours and smells they recognise.

“I’m now supporting our more mobile residents to be able to care for and water the plants. Those who are unable to venture outside so often are enjoying creating indoor terrarium gardens for their rooms.

“A lot of time was put into researching ideas for the garden. All of the plants and herbs chosen are sensory friendly and will not cause residents any harm if they pick them.”