A core project of Sydenham Garden. It aims to support people in the early stages of dementia to live well.
We use gardening, cooking, art, music and Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, as well as opportunities for reminiscence, reflection and discussion. Through these activities, participants can experience a holistic program of therapy that helps them to improve their cognitive skills, feel more socially included and have a better quality of life.
Therapeutic Value of Sow and Grow:
Operating on weekly sessions and lasting for 6 months – 1 year, the Sow and Grow project aims to help co-workers improve or maintain their:
- Ability to undergo physical activity
- Social inclusion and interaction
- Quality of life
- Participation in life outside Sydenham Garden
Our activities are simple and really good fun, using the principles of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) as the underlying therapeutic model, which is recommended by NICE. The highlights of these principles include:
We champion mental well-being.
No one is a patient in Sow & Grow. People living with dementia are respectfully addressed as “co-workers” who work alongside our staff and volunteers. That is because we want to encourage them to take an active part in our activities and more importantly, we want them to be self-conscious of their own involvement and achievement.
We respect individuality.
Successful communication between staff/volunteers and co-workers is based on mutual respect and sensitivity to the nature of dementia. Co-workers make decisions for themselves but when such decision-making is beyond their cognitive abilities, they are provided with clues and triggers to ensure the outcomes are in sync with their individualities.
We practice dementia-oriented communication strategies.
Some of our co-workers live alone and therefore look forward to spending time at Sow & Grow. Bearing in mind that such excitement contributes to the success of relationship building, our staff and volunteers are well-versed in effective communication strategies that downplay memory failure. Specifically, we prioritise opinions over factual values and we do not correct mistakes in a way that causes co-workers discomfort.
We are consistent in our approach. Each themed session offers different activities but they follow always the same routine. This helps the person reduce anxiety, feel more settled and also helps people to be well orientated and settled in the group.
We want to ensure that learning can be fun.
We aim to provide our co-workers with activities that they can enjoy and find interesting. We offer opportunities of stimulation and social interaction while we all have a good laugh and great time together.
With generous funding from
Graeme Marsh the Foundation’s manager notes:
The Sow and Grow project at Sydenham Garden aligns well with our Foundation, not only in the clear beneficial impact that it has on the co-workers involved, but also in how the charity approach the challenges of supporting people living with dementia. The programme is innovative and empowering, while also supporting our wider aims of intergenerational activity and community regeneration. This programme helps to foster the feelings of independence and connection that are so important to the mental health and wellbeing of all older people, but are acutely impacted by living with dementia. We are looking forward to working closely with Sydenham Garden and seeing the Sow and Grow programme help support more older adults living with dementia in the months and years to come.