Care home
The gardens of 30 dementia care settings across the country have been rejuvenated to improve the quality of life of service users.

Despite most dementia-care settings having an outside space, some are rarely used. Concerns about safety are cited by service providers, who may also lack confidence and resources to encourage better use of these spaces.

The Living Through Landscapes project, supported by £1.3 million from the Big Lottery Fund, has been addressing this and supporting care providers to improve their gardens through:

  • a dementia-friendly consultation and engagement process
  • work to alter the landscape of outdoor spaces
  • training and support for care staff

Thrive has helped deliver these improvements, working in partnership with Learning through Landscapes, Groundwork, Age UK and the University of Kent.

One of the care settings to benefit is featured in this short film:

Damien Newman, Thrive’s Training, Education and Consultancy Manager, said, ‘Living Through Landscapes has made gardens in care settings better suited to the needs of people living with dementia, creating inviting spaces that can be better used to improve quality of life.

‘Additionally, we trained the teams within these settings in how to engage people with dementia in nature-based activity while encouraging them to see the outdoor access as part of daily life within these settings.

The project has also created a legacy of a wealth of knowledge and information that will help those working in the dementia care sector for many years ahead

Damien Newman, Thrive

‘Empowering people with dementia to access nature how and when they would like to, is important in protecting the rights of people living with dementia. We hope the research that will come from the University of Kent about this project will elevate the need to see outdoor access as part of any quality standards framework, such as Care Quality Commissions Fundamental Standards.

‘The project has also created a legacy of a wealth of knowledge and information that will help those working in the dementia care sector for many years ahead.’

Resources to help others caring for people with dementia include:

  • Free online training about the value of gardens in dementia care settings and how access to nature can improve wellbeing.
  • Gardening activities suitable for people with dementia, such as seed sowing and planting out, are available via worksheets.
  • A design guide to help make the most of gardens in care settings, which will be available soon.

New nature and gardens resource targets better health

Reducing stress and anxiety by connecting to the therapeutic power of gardens and nature is the target of a new resource launched by Thrive.

Find out more