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Welcome to this short learning experience to help you think about how well you are using gardens or yards and outside spaces for people to enjoy.

The 15-minute audio presentation by Sally Knocker of the Meaningful Care Matters team shares a range of images of different outside spaces in care homes in the United Kingdom and Canada, and also some photographs of how homes have brought the outside inside with clever use of murals and objects in hallways and living areas.   It is hoped that these visual ideas will inspire you to think creatively about ways in which you can develop your gardens/yards and inside areas to help everyone feel more connected to the ‘great outdoors’.

A blog by Daren Felgate about bringing the sense of the outside inside explores the importance of choosing objects and pictures which relate to people’s life stories and interests in relation to being outside.

The key messages:

  • Getting outside on a regular basis is important for our health and wellbeing and yet in many care environments, it is not always seen as priority.
  • Some older adults may lose confidence in going out and it is important to consider what some of the barriers might be.
  • Spending a lot of money on garden design might be wasted if you don’t have team members with positive attitudes to encouraging people to go out on a regular basis as part of the normal routines of the day.
  • Doors to outside areas need to not be locked and the access to the outside needs to be both safe and inviting to people, so that those who are able, can walk out independently and spontaneously.
  • Consider the kinds of ‘invitations’ you might create in your garden or yard for someone to be involved in an activity e.g., a watering can to water the plants or a raised bed with vegetables to grow and pick.
  • Gardens can include areas for physical activity for example a golf putting or bowling green or a basketball net.
  • Outside spaces might also include interesting destinations such as a shed with tools, a beach hut or a tea-room to create an experience of going out.
  • Creating interesting features which might appeal to visiting children might also create pleasure for the people living in the home to watch or participate in these activities.  A swing or a trampoline might need a special risk assessment but could provide lots of fun!
  • Comfortable sitting in various areas of the garden to include sun and shade need to have pleasant outlooks.  Some people might enjoy quiet time alone, whilst others might see the outside as a place to have refreshments in the company of others.
  • Inside features should include ‘3D’ elements, for example baskets with flowers or a fishing rod.
  • Bringing the outside inside needs to include a range of things to tap into the various senses of nature e.g., birdsong, flowers to smell, fruit and vegetables to taste and garden equipment to look at and feel.
  • Consider the line of vision of the people you support and so, for example, murals of skies, trees and birds might be especially appreciated by those who are looking upwards.
  • Take time to find out the talents and interests of your team in relation to gardening, growing vegetables, painting murals etc.

How long does it take?

Duration: 1 hour

  • The video presentation and debriefing questions will take approximately 1 hour.

Available until 31 March 2023

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