Brand new sensory garden to stimulate the senses at Hillcroft House

A sensory garden for residents living with dementia is being created at Hillcroft House in Stowmarket, as part of an 'In Bloom’ competition taking across Healthcare Homes Group.

The garden will help to stimulate the senses of those living with dementia through its colourful flowers, fragrant herbs and visiting bees and butterflies

Activity Co –ordinator Julie Cosson has had a picture of the garden in her mind for some time and can now see it coming to fruition. She is even preparing to do a parachute jump to raise awareness for the project.

“We say skydive but it will be more of a sky push really” joked Julie. “I said I would do it to launch the garden and now that we have started it seemed a good time to do it. A lot of our residents want to spend time outside so we want to create a place that is beneficial for them to experience.”

Hillcroft House home manager Victoria Barber said, “It’s an exciting project for the home and will be wonderful to get finished in time for the residents to get the full benefit this summer. Julie has been the driving force and it is a project which is close to her heart. Lots of the team have helped out, digging and tidying, helping with the painting, whatever needs doing really.

“We all wish Julie a lot of luck for the skydive and some of the team will be going along to Beccles Airfield to make sure it takes place.”

Local keen gardener Barry Aldous has grown plants for the project and is also helping out as part-time gardener at the home.

In addition to the sensory planting tyres have been brightly painted to form planters after being donated by Stow Tyres and there’s a former electric cabling bobbin which is being transformed into a table for the garden. Julie also hopes to create a pergola with some climbing flowers and a summerhouse with a barbecue.

Hillcroft House is part of Healthcare Homes, a top 20 care home group as rated by independent reviews site

The home was originally a school and the house is a Grade II Listed building that dates back over 200 years. The home has been tastefully extended but retains links with the original house to provide modern facilities to care for up to 42 residents, many who are living with dementia.

Healthcare Homes has launched a brand new Healthcare Homes in Bloom competition to support residents, clients and staff across its 48 homes and 11 homecare branches in the east and south of England to enjoy the wide-ranging benefits of gardening.

Being out in the fresh air is good for wellbeing and research shows can be particularly beneficial for people li9ving with dementia. Gardening and being out in the garden -

  • Reduces stress and can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Can make you happy and increase levels of serotonin in the body
  • Improves hand strength and dexterity
  • Gives you a boost of vitamin D helping your bones and immune system
  • Is good exercise
  • Stimulates conversation and memories of garden activity in the past
  • Provides sensory enjoyment – smelling, touching, looking and listening
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