The tables are scattered with pine cones, sycamore leaves, and decorative branches, along with bottles of glue, vivid construction paper, and pots of colorful paint. Our KC Memory Cafe begins with sharing memories of camping, scouting, or outdoor activities. Then a lively group of Girl Scouts leads us in song, reminding us to, “Make new friends, But keep the old, One is silver, And the other gold.”
After our singalong, cafe guests experiment with the art supplies and natural objects. They dip pine cones into red paint and brush blue across crusty leaves. They paint a stick bright orange and wrap it with yarn. The Girl Scouts weave through the artists, pouring extra paint, distributing additional papers, and assisting when asked. The guests work, admire, chat, and laugh as these creative projects emerge. By the end of the cafe, the tables are covered with innovative art and people are smiling as they return home.
Want to introduce more nature into your lives?
“Research shows that nature-based activity is therapeutic and is essentially a form of treatment for dementia symptoms, helping a person remain at home longer,” says Garuth Chalfont PhD, American Society of Landscape Architects, and author of the. Dementia Green Care Handbook.
Gathering flowers, walking a tree-lined sidewalk, plucking a cherry tomato off its vine, watering a house plant, gazing out the window at chickadees—these meaningful natural activities increase pleasure, relaxation, social interactions, and sensory stimulation.
Here are a few other ideas:
• Create observation spots in your living space so you can enjoy looking outdoors. Even watching the weather helps people feel engaged in the natural environment.
• Improve your view with interesting additions, such as bird feeders and birdhouses, bubbling fountains, wind chimes, wind spinners, outdoor sculpture, and various plants and herbs.
• Add resilient plants to your home.
• Bring in natural objects to touch, identify, arrange, draw and craft with.
• Visit garden centers, parks, playgrounds, and zoos for a rich natural experience.
• Increase your popularity by taking a dog with you on a walk, either your own or borrow your neighbor’s pup.