Vegetable garden plants and activities offer great opportunities for hands on and sensory experiences for people with dementia. Check out these simple activities that can engage the person in a positive way and create enjoyable moments for all.
Garden Activities for higher level dementia:
The person with dementia can help plant and tend to patio plants or raised gardens, including watering, pulling weeds, and harvesting the produce. Try cherry tomato plants, herbs, peppers, or beans grown up a trellis. If you do not grow your own, check out your local farmer's market for fresh produce.
Make salsa using fresh garden ingredients. The person can help dice tomatoes or scrape the seeds out of them; chop strips of green pepper; pull cilantro off the stem; squeeze in some lime; stir the ingredients together.
Handle and taste different herbs which offer a rich sensory experience. Try basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender, peppermint, or lemon balm.
Hands on activities, such as shucking corn, peeling potatoes or cucumbers, and shelling peas, are one step activities that can work well.
Help water the plants and pull ripe, red tomatoes off the vine (with guidance to pull only the red ones)
Dump and stir ingredients, that have already been chopped up, for a fresh vegetable salad. Give the person step by step cues to pour in each ingredient and then to stir. Try diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, diced red pepper, and basil, plus a squeeze of lemon and splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. The bright colors of the salad can also help stimulate appetite for the person.
Sing a song related the the summer outdoors, such as "You Are My Sunshine" or "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning"
Want more ideas on how to engage people with dementia, helping them to use their energy and abilities in a positive way and to have ways to still enjoy life? Click below to access our Activity Tip Guide.