Outdoor landscaping activities to engage dementia sufferers

Fall is the time for many landscaping chores, such as raking, pruning and planting. Just because a person has dementia, doesn’t mean they have to stop activities they enjoy and that make them feel productive. Here are some ideas to involve those with dementia in these types of activities:

Early Stage Dementia

  • Provide a bag and rake for raking leaves. Re-direct, as needed, to keep the person on task.
  • Prune overgrown bushes by bringing the person to the bush and instructing what to do. Supervise the person for safety and to prevent over-pruning.
  • Help the person plant spring-blooming bulbs by giving step-by-step directions and providing the needed tools.

Middle Stage Dementia

  • Demonstrate and tell the person how to rake leaves. Raking might be random and repetitive, but that is okay.
  • Help the person lay down mulch around plants that need protection over the winter.
  • Show the person weeds to pull, to eliminate more weeds in the spring. You may need to provide step-by-step, continual directions – or if you help weed, the person may watch you and follow suit.

Late Stage Dementia

  • Provide fall flowers, such as mums to look at and smell
  • Allow the person to see, smell and feel brightly colored fall leaves, with supervision.

Any Stage Dementia

  • Sit together in the yard or on porch, go for a ride or walk to look at the changing colors

Kristi Vaughn

I am a Licensed Social Worker and owner of Adult Comfort Care: A Person Centered in-home assisted living resource for seniors and their families.

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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 10:19 AM, 09.17.2013