Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. This Syndrome affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.
Most types of dementia are nonreversible (degenerative). Nonreversible means the changes in the brain that are causing the dementia cannot be stopped or turned back. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
Lewy body disease is a leading cause of dementia in elderly adults. People with this condition have abnormal protein structures in certain areas of the brain.
Dementia can be due to many small strokes. This is called vascular dementia.
After Research, the experts have observed that access to the outdoors, and physical activity such as gardening, could transform life for patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Donald Stewart, 79, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago.
His wife raised the alarm when he was becoming more and more forgetful. When a psychiatrist sent him for a brain scan, it confirmed he had the condition. He has been gardening at the Potager Garden – a community garden in Kinross – for more than a year. His wife, Catherine, says it has been a “god-send”. When Donald comes to the garden, she says, he “feels wanted and necessary”.She says: “He’s done some woodwork painting, and things like that. Quite well, I believe.”
Annie Pollock, landscape designer from the Dementia Services Development Centre at Stirling University, says it should not be surprising that core skills from Mr Stewart’s lifetime of gardening remain, even as the disease takes away other aspects of his personality.
And she says there is plenty of evidence of the benefits outdoor activity such as gardening can have for people like him.
Ms Pollock says: “If you’ve got somebody being locked up for 24 hours a day – as seems to happen in some scenarios – they are going to be unhappy.
“They will present challenging behaviour. They probably won’t sleep at night. They’ll be frailer, and they will cost the system a lot more money to care for.” She adds: “Whereas people who are outside and active still can maintain an active interest in their environment, and their cognitive abilities decline slower.”