Greener fingers, keener minds at Castlebank

CastlebankPark Dementia Gardening Club
CastlebankPark Dementia Gardening Club

Lanark’s Castlebank Park has officially become part of Scotland’s health services.

But, no, Castlebank House and the much-loved public park and gardens around it ISN’T being turned into a hospital. Well, not a conventional one anyway...

Last week the park held the first meeting of its new Dementia Friendly Gardening Group.

Cultivating plants is used as a way to improve an individual’s social, emotional, educational, psychological and physical well-being.

The garden and the activity of gardening provides a non-pharmacological approach that can be used for many health and wellbeing benefits and a number of studies have shown the benefits of therapeutic gardens and horticultural activities for people with dementia.

The therapeutic intervention of gardening in the natural environment was shown to increase wellbeing among individuals.

Being outdoors offered a calming, neutral place for people to be connected to something real and also increased physical health and fitness with positive effects on mental health.

Researchers evaluated responses to horticultural-based activities for randomly assigned groups in eight care homes compared with responses to traditional activities.

They showed that horticultural activities reached groups of participants who would often be difficult to engage in activities and resulted in higher levels of adaptive behaviour and in active and passive engagement.

Similarly, another researcher found improvements in communication, engagement, behaviour and cognitive abilities in a group of patients with Alzeimer’s who participated in horticultural activity over a period of three months.

It was shown that the outdoor activity group experienced significant improvements in sleep patterns and also a decline in verbal agitation.

And it’s hoped that the impact of therapeutic gardening for people with young- onset dementia could soon be seen in Lanark.

Not only will the members feel better but the park will also look better!