Following research released by Alzheimer’s Australia, Holmer Green-based care home, Cherry Garth, has launched an initiative to give its male residents the opportunity to potter in the garden shed and spend time outdoors.
The research revealed how often care homes, which are mainly populated by women, shape activities and settings more favourable to females. The report stresses the importance of implementing meaningful and familiar activities, specifically for male residents living with dementia, to help them in their transition to life in a care home.
Jo Head, service manager at Cherry Garth, said: “After reading the article, we decided to split the use of our shed so that it benefits both male and female residents. Funds for the shed were donated by a lady and her late husband who both lived at Cherry Garth, therefore we named it ‘Audrey’s Potting Shed’ and ‘Gordon’s Workshop’ – which have been a great hit so far!”
To bring the shed to life, the activities team at Cherry Garth decorated the space with tools, including hammers, spanners, saws and nails – some of which, for safety reasons, are behind protective screens or in jars screwed into the walls.
The home reports that the shed has been a great success with male residents frequently visiting it and finding comfort in carrying out manual tasks as well as getting to know the other residents with similar interests.
Jo continues: “With the warmer months on the horizon, we try to make best use of the shed and outdoor activities. Most recently Gordon’s workshop saw our male residents building bird houses, where one person was able to give his as a birthday present to his brother – which was lovely to witness as they were both so proud of each other.”
Alongside the shed activities, Cherry Garth has also made plans to give residents a raised vegetable garden to attend, similar to a mini allotment, providing flasks of tea and packed lunches while they work during the day. This will enable residents create an allotment community and spend time chatting while in the garden.
Jo concludes: “Our long term aim is to create a mutual bond and goal amongst residents. We want them to have a community within Cherry Garth that unites them as men, doing what interests and engages them whilst being physically active and mentally stimulated.
“By building a community that’s relevant and fits the needs of our residents, both men and women alike, we will help support their physical as well as mental wellbeing. We hope that our shed initiative will inspire other care homes to do more with their gardens and provide a space for older people to enjoy and stay active”.