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The Impact of a Sensory Garden for People with Dementia

Haley Collins, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Brent L. Hawkins, Julie Vidotto


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of sensory garden interventions on agitation and quality of life for people with dementia. The sensory garden consisted of plants that stimulated all the senses. Four people diagnosed with dementia residing in assisted living participated in the multiple treatment single-subject design (A1-B-BC-A2) study. Baseline phase A1 lasted two weeks, intervention B and BC were four weeks each, and return to baseline A2 was two weeks, for a total of 12 weeks. Intervention B was an indoor sensory garden, and intervention BC was an approximated outside sensory garden. The Agitated Behavior Mapping Instrument, Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, and Dementia Quality of Life-Proxy were used to collect data. Data revealed positive trends following the sensory garden interventions on decreasing agitation and improving quality of life. Intervention B worked best for two participants and intervention BC for the remaining two participants. Applications to recreational therapy practice are provided. 

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Agitation; dementia; quality of life; recreational therapy; sensory garden

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