Care Homes 01252 735507
Home Care 01252 735522

A Sensory Cottage Garden
for Older People

Abbeyfield Wey Valley Society was formed in 1981; formerly a non-profit organisation we are now a registered independent charity providing high-quality residential, nursing and sheltered care. At Wey Valley, we have 30 years’ experience as one of Surrey’s leading providers in caring for older people.

We currently provide three care homes in Farnham and four sheltered houses, offering a warm, friendly ‘home-from-home’ environment for over 100 older people. We offer appropriate levels of care and support to preserve the privacy, dignity and independence of every person we look after. In 2017 we also opened a Homecare division to enable us to care for older people in the wider community.

Project Need

Our care and nursing home at Hatch Mill offers a total of 46 bedrooms across the ground and first floors, 19 of which are residential and 27 nursing. The grounds surrounding the home are laid to lawn with accessible pathways but we would like to install a sensory cottage garden which would encourage residents to access the outside areas throughout the year. In addition we would like to encourage our more able residents to take part in maintaining the garden – we have a number of residents who have expressed an interest in helping to create the garden as many of them were previously keen gardeners.

Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people; it increases levels of physical activity and helps mobility and flexibility, encourages use of all motor skills, improves endurance and strength, helps prevent diseases like osteoporosis and reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation. In addition, it provides stimulation and interest in nature and the outdoors and improves wellbeing as a result of social interaction. Those who suffer from dementia will also benefit from the garden as scents can trigger memories of happy times, the smell of mint, roses, lavender or even wet leaves can be particularly good, as can a seating area or dry plot of grass to sit on, or patches of lawn daisies grown deliberately to make daisy chains.

The Garden

The existing area at Hatch Mill is overgrown and needs some life, there is a pond already established and would like to enhance this as well as encouraging wildlife into the garden. Our Sister home Ridgway Court has a lovely cottage garden and we hope to replicate this with a lovely seating area, rockery, and fruit that residents pick as well as a fountain.

The new sensory cottage garden would be designed to stimulate older people’s senses in a number of ways as every plant bears individual characteristics that entice different senses in unique ways. There is nothing more pleasant than to stroll through or sit, in the garden and admire the rainbow of colours and diversity in texture while taking in the sweet fragrance of flowers in bloom. Scents are so important for those who are visually impaired with traditional fruits and flowers triggering memories for those with dementia – all enhancing the feeling of well-being. The new garden would be designed to be used throughout the year with seasonal plants and flowers and coloured lighting for evenings. We would like this area to provide enough space for individuals or groups of residents to use at any time with access allowing residents to choose independently to go outside with or without the need for support, with a patio area and a pathway for resident to wander through.

The garden would be managed by our resident gardener but we will also set up a Residents Group who will be actively involved in the garden design and maintenance. The group will also include a person to help make decisions and time to keep things moving forward.

Lonely No More

Our founding principal at Abbeyfield is to banish the loneliness felt by many older people and we are proud to offer our residents an active, sociable living environment. In our homes, there’s always something to do with games, quizzes, reading and entertainment, whilst in warmer weather, we organise days out shopping, visiting local places of interest and even the occasional picnic. At all times, our qualified staff and local volunteers are on hand to help out to ensure every event is an enjoyable and rewarding occasion.
Our philosophy is to provide residents with a home for life, irrespective of any deteriorating condition and financial means, as long as we can continue to meet their needs. As a registered charity we endeavour to ensure that these most vulnerable members of our society remain their care home for the remainder of their lives with their friends and care staff with whom they feel safe and loved.

Project cost

We already own the site of the new garden but we must raise funds to cover the cost of development:-

Item Cost
Installation of Patio and purchase of materials £5,500
Plants/Flowers/Trees £2,100
Furniture – tables/chairs £2,500
Lighting and installation plus garden accessories £1,900
Labour £3,000
Total £15,000

To donate please phone 01252 735507 or visit our online donations page with Virgin Money Giving here.