Occupational Therapy Gardening Dementia Activities Ideas

benefits of gardening for dementia patients

Occupational Therapy Gardening Dementia Activities Ideas are great ideas to improve the quality of life for persons living with dementia. These activities can involve therapeutic, cognitive and sensory elements that help to stimulate the minds and bodies of residents in nursing homes, especially those living with severe dementia.


Occupational therapy plays an important role in gardening activities for dementia patients. Gardening activities help to improve the cognitive and sensory aspects of living with dementia. It can also be used as a therapeutic activity to promote well-being and improve the quality of life of dementia care residents. Garden activities may include activities of daily living such as planting, weeding, watering, pruning and harvesting. In addition, horticultural activities such as creating compost and potting plants can be incorporated into the garden setting to provide additional therapeutic benefits. It can help to create a safe environment for dementia patients so they can participate in these activities with ease, aiding in their mental health and overall well-being.

Benefits of gardening for Dementia patients

Gardening is a great activity for people with dementia and can be beneficial for their mental and physical health.

  • It provides an opportunity for patients to engage in meaningful activities and connect with nature. It is a great way to provide therapy and care outside of the clinical setting.
  • It can be used as part of a group program, or it can be practiced individually by patients and their families. Patients learn gardening skills such as planting and caring for plants, which can help them gain confidence and get their quality of life. Studies have shown that gardening as therapy has positive effects on depression, socialization, relaxation, and overall health of those who participate in it.
  • Not only does gardening offer physical benefits, but also psychological ones such as reducing stress and increasing self-esteem.
  • It also helps to create a sense of community among people with dementia and those around them, allowing them to interact with one another in a safe environment.

There are many studies that support the fact that gardening is beneficial for people with dementia, making it an essential part of treatment for these individuals.

benefits of gardening for dementia patients

Occupational Therapy Gardening Dementia Activity Ideas

Garden activities for dementia at a higher level

  • The person with dementia can help plant and care for patio plants or raised gardens, including watering, pulling weeds and harvesting the produce. Try cherry tomato plants, herbs, peppers or beans grown in a trellis. If you don’t grow your own, check out your local farmers market for fresh produce.
  • Once you have your produce, the person with dementia can help snap beans, toss corn on the cob, de-stem strawberries or scoop out melon balls.
  • Make salsa with fresh garden ingredients. The person can help dice tomatoes or scrape the seeds out of them; chop strips of green pepper; pull cilantro off the stem; squeeze in some lime; stir the ingredients together.
  • Use plant seeds to create a seed art project. Get Seed Art Tutorial
  • Talk about vegetables the person may have grown in the past. Ask how they would deal with weeds or insects and how they would earn their harvest.

Garden activities for lower level dementia

  • Handle and taste different herbs, which provide a rich sensory experience. Try basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender, peppermint or lemon balm.
  • Hands-on activities, such as popping corn, peeling potatoes or cucumbers, and shelling peas, are one-step activities that can work well.
  • Help water the plants and pull ripe, red tomatoes off the vine (with instructions to pull only the red ones)
  • Dump and stir ingredients that are already chopped up into a fresh vegetable salad. Cue the person step by step to pour in each ingredient and then stir. Try chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, diced red pepper and basil, plus a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The bright colors of the salad can also help to stimulate the person’s appetite.

How occupational therapy can support gardening for dementia people

how occupational therapy can support gardening for dementia people

 Occupational therapy can support gardening for people with dementia in a variety of ways. Supported housing, health care and mental health professionals can collaborate to ensure that patients are able to access the therapeutic benefits.

By utilizing master gardeners and researching applicable studies from Google Scholar and Crossref, Therapists can implement horticultural therapy programs as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress. These programs will provide patients with the skills necessary to gain confidence in their abilities while performing meaningful activities. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has noted that horticultural therapy is an evidence-based practice that promotes mental health by providing a safe environment for socialization and physical activity.

It has been found to reduce symptoms of dementia related illnesses, get quality of life, and increase patient satisfaction. Furthermore, therapists can use horticultural therapy as an adjunct to traditional therapies to promote physical functioning, cognitive functioning, and emotional well-being in their patients.

Tips for Practicing Occupational Therapy Gardening with Dementia

Gardening with dementia patients is a great way to practice occupational therapy and provide physical health benefits. Therapy interventions can be used to help them work on their cognitive functioning and social interactions.

A horticultural therapist or occupational therapy assistant should be involved in order to ensure proper safety measures are taken when working with these patients, as some may suffer from mental illnesses like bipolar disorder.

Working in green spaces or therapeutic gardens can also be beneficial for dementia patients, as suggested by the Horticultural Therapy Association.

It is important to create a safe and supportive environment while providing the necessary tools, such as gloves and pruning shears, for them to carry out. Additionally, techniques such as mindfulness can be used to help keep dementia patients focused on the task at hand.

By following these tips, practitioners can successfully use gardening as an effective occupational therapy intervention for dementia patients.


Gardening is a way to get the quality of life for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s or a similar form of dementia that does not involve medication.

If gardening is a valued activity, it can have enormous therapeutic benefits for everyone, including those living with dementia. The key is to adapt the activity to the right level of challenge to enable individuals to succeed at all stages of dementia.

It help prevents memory loss
Even working in the garden for a short time can keep the brain active and get memory, preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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