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Herb garden inspires childhood memories for patients with dementia


Cabrini Brighton patients can now cultivate and enjoy a sensory herb garden at the hospital.

The initiative is part of a joint partnership between Cabrini Brighton and Dementia Australia, aimed at creating Australia’s first purpose-designed dementia-friendly rehabilitation environment in a hospital setting.

The garden is one of several projects developed to improve the hospital rehabilitation environment for patients with dementia at Cabrini Brighton.

During Dementia Action Week (September 16-22), Cabrini and Dementia Australia strengthened their partnership by celebrating the milestones achieved from the projects implemented thus far and outlining aspirations for the future.

Victorian Member for Brighton James Newbury MP said dementia was something that affected everyone in the community.

“We have all been touched by a relative, friend or loved one who has had dementia, which is why these initiatives are so important,” he said.

“I commend Cabrini Brighton and Dementia Australia for taking the lead on this and I hope other hospitals and healthcare facilities will follow suit.”

Cabrini Brighton resident chef Daryl Morris, was part of a dedicated team that came up with idea of creating a dementia-friendly garden.

It was designed to encourage patients to reflect on their childhood.

“Reminiscing is a great thing for dementia patients. The older-style herbs help them think back to their childhood and many of those memories put them in a good place. The smells can help trigger those memories as well,” Mr Morris said.

He added that many dementia patients wanted to feel useful, rather than sitting in bed.

“Once the garden is a little more established, patients will have the opportunity to go out and do some weeding, watering or pruning. It will also provide a nice place for them to spend time with family, friends and other patients.”

Mr Morris said the garden would serve many purposes.

“The dementia-friendly garden is a great initiative by the hospital and we’ll be able to utilise the herbs in the kitchen as well,” he said.

For information about Cabrini’s community dementia nursing service visit, our chronic disease management page.