Landscape architects at Manchester Metropolitan University have designed a special garden for elderly patients with schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The garden at Cheadle Royal Hospital is the first of its kind in the country and is based on the latest research in psychiatric care.
The garden, designed by student Alison McCann and lecturer Ed Bennis, will not only be an attractive environment for patients but offer therapeutic stimulation, both physical and sensual. Uniquely, it will provide the elderly with remembrance therapy, featuring a clothes line, wheelbarrow, dustbin, bird table and other items of nostalgia which research indicates create a ‘homely’ safe environment for patients.
Traditional garden and orchard plants – lilac, forsythia, hydrangea and fruit trees, apple, blackcurrant, redcurrant and others, will also recreate the ‘home garden’ effect.
Remembrance therapy is now recognised as an important factor in psychiatric care and can have a positive influence on patients’ moods and ability to relax.
The idea for a therapy garden was initiated by the Friends of Cheadle Royal Hospital, who initially approached MMU’s School of Landscape in 1999. The Friends have raised £35,000 for the project and full planning permission was sought and achieved through Stockport Borough Council.
Building work got underway this week for the garden which is expected to be finished in September.
Ed Bennis, Head of Landscape at MMU, said: “We are delighted to have applied some of the School’s expertise to this exciting and fulfilling project which can have real benefits to the NHS and to individual quality of life.”