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Sensory Garden provides haven of tranquility

Sensory GardenA sensory garden has been created at The Retreat in York to help older people recover, thanks to a special £3,000 donation from the family of a former patient.

‘Renee’s Garden’ was designed by Belinda Noda, a MSc student form Sheffield Hallam University in consultation with staff and patients.  It aims to stimulate the senses and offer people a quiet, beautiful environment for patients to relax and recover.  Special plants for sound, tasting and scent have been used in the garden.

Occupational Therapist Joyce Latimer explained: “Sensory gardens have proven therapeutic value, particularly for people with sight problems and dementia. Older people will be able to enjoy nature in a safe and tactile place – we see it as an outdoor equivalent to our Snoezelen Room.”

The sensory garden will also be used to help patients engage in therapeutic and fun activities, where they can take part in art and craft, movement and dance and music. It is hoped that the garden will be used as a meeting place, as well as a refuge for patients.

Clinical Team Leader Carmel Cathcart from Older People’s Services at The Retreat said: “Our older patients really enjoy being outside, close to nature and in the fresh air, especially at this time of year. Renee’s Garden is a special mini-retreat, within our grounds, which is near to the unit where older people can feel safe. We hope that everyone will enjoy using the new sensory garden.”