Dementia Care Farms (also known as Green Care Farms) have been popular in Europe for several years. Today, they’re expanding around the globe.
Originally designed to provide help for people with mental health issues, addiction problems, and children with behavioral concerns, the farms are now expanding to providing support for people living with dementia.
Many of the farms invite residents from traditional nursing care facilities to come out for specialized activities. Residents visit for a couple of hours and enjoy activities such as baking, gardening, or caring for the animals.
Other farms offer adult daycare programs. Residents arrive in the morning and enjoy farming activities all day, then return home to their family in the evening.
More recently, farms are adding houses that provide 24-hour care for a small group of residents (generally around 6-8 people). Health professionals staff these homes, serving in multiple roles such as providing direct care, cooking meals, planning activities, and providing housekeeping services.
Dementia Care Farms are actual working farms. Residents help with routine farming tasks such as feeding animals, planting and maintaining gardens, and preparing meals from produce grown on the farm. Activities are individualized according to a resident’s interests and strengths.
The benefits of a Dementia Care Farm are many:
- Residents get outdoors to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.
- Pets on the farm provide nonjudgmental love and affection.
- Many of the residents view this as their job and it gives purpose to their days.
- Residents may eat better when they help prepare meals using fresh ingredients from the farm.
- The farm provides socialization and a sense of community.
- Work on the farm helps keep residents physically active.
For more information check out this lovely video about a Dementia Care Farm in Norway:
Do any of you have experience with a Dementia Care Farm? I would love to hear your thoughts!