Senior living community offers sensory gardens to help residents living with dementia


More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease.

One senior living community in our area has a safe place for the residents to explore.

News 5's Jessica Griffith shows us how sensory gardens help those suffering from dementia.

John Boarman is feeling at peace, working in the sensory gardens.

"It makes me feel good. This is what I do at home," he said.

Workers at the center say gardening can help reduce anxiety and depression in residents.

"Makes me feel good to know that I've done something," John said.

Plus, it gives them a chance to socialize.

They're called sensory gardens, because the residents are digging their hands in the soil, touching the flowers and giving the residents something to be proud of.

"It triggers those good memories. The fun memories," Senior Executive Director Michelle Bolling said.

For John, it's memories of working on his farm, like he did his whole life.

"It makes me happy to see he's out here doing something he truly has always enjoyed doing," John's daughter, Joyce Bowls said.

The sensory gardens are at about a hip level, so it will prevent those who are gardening from falling over and injuring themselves

"They're not exhausting themselves," Bolling said.

"It's going to take me a half a day to get it out of my fingernails," John said.

But he said it's well worth it, to feel like he has a purpose.

"I like to do it. And after I do it right, see it grow and I feel like that is something the good lord has given me to do," John said.

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