Find a way to build connections between garden users, for example by displaying photos or notices on pin boards, or by sharing and displaying art and crafts made by garden users. If people have a sense of belonging or even ownership about the garden they are more likely to want to stay involved.
Sometimes people with dementia may feel unsafe, insecure or uncomfortable in the garden, especially if they are trying to do something unfamiliar or even if they are just having a bad day. It helps if there are enough people about to observe and support people with dementia as needs arise. Some people may need to be accompanied by a friend or relative. Having a quiet space within the garden to retreat to could also help.
Visits to community gardens are “outings for all people”, according to one participant. Another says community gardens work well precisely because of “community – that’s the whole reason!”.
For older people and children, learning and doing activities together is a great approach. Both contribute to the experience, but often in different ways.
In the DIGnity groups, the adults are genuinely interested to find out what the children are learning about. For example, if the kids are being taught about insects in the garden, the adults will most likely learn something too. The groups want to welcome and accommodate children, for example, by putting in a playground within the garden area.