Lifestyle

Stimulating minds

by
November 28, 2016

Mercy Place lifestyle coordinator Nicole Raditsas, Shepparton lions Club secretary and treasurer Terry Collison, Shepparton club president Bill Thomas and general manager Don Field.

A new sensory garden for people living with dementia has begun construction at Mercy Place in Shepparton.

The outdoor area is in a secure space within the aged-care facility and will be used by residents, visiting guests and groups including Verney Road School.

Mercy Place lifestyle co-ordinator Nicole Raditsas said when people spent time in outdoor areas, such as a sensory garden, agitation and aggression was reduced, independence was promoted and memory recall was more likely to occur.

The Shepparton Club donated $5000 and the Shepparton Lions Club donated $6000 towards the project.

Shepparton Club general manager Don Field said the club was happy to help with the development of the sensory garden.

‘‘It just gives the residents something to do other than sit around outside,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a great project, we’re happy to be involved.’’

Shepparton Lions Club secretary and treasurer Terry Collison said the club was also hoping to secure a further $6000 from the Australian Lions Foundation, which matches donations to projects such as the sensory garden dollar for dollar.

Ms Raditsas has had a further $17000 in funding approved by the Mercy Foundation, which will go towards providing added activities and furniture originally thought to be too expensive for the project.

‘‘The Mercy Foundation (funding) is the extras we can live without, but will be good additions,’’ she said.

Percussion play musical instruments including a wall xylophone and big drums in the ground will be just some of the many sensory activities and items for Mercy Place residents to use in the garden.

‘‘Music triggers memories and it’s fun, so it’s about engaging people,’’ Ms Raditsas said.

The garden will have a water feature and plenty of bright flowers with strong fragrances designed to stimulate memory.

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