On June 30, 2021, St. Cabrini Nursing Home held a blessing ceremony to mark the completed renovation of the therapeutic dementia garden. This renovation was made possible thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Field Hall Foundation. The grant was originally awarded in July of 2019 but renovations were halted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The purpose of the therapeutic recreation dementia garden is aimed at improving the quality of life for residents with Alzheimer’s/dementia who live at the nursing home or who utilize the dementia unit for respite. Due to safety reasons, most of the residents on this particular unit rarely get to go outside freely and unencumbered. Studies have shown that gardens designed for residents with dementia are an effective, non-pharmalogical intervention that reduces dementia symptoms, improves quality of life, enhances family interactions with loved ones and increases family and staff satisfaction.
With the funds from the grant, a drip irrigation system for all planting areas was installed, durable but stylish furniture was purchased and beautiful perennials were added to the landscape. Another highlight of the garden are the garden beds that residents can utilize to plant flowers and tend to them while they are enjoying a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine and the melodious sounds of birds flying overhead.
During the blessing ceremony, Cabrini of Westchester’s Vice-President of Operations and Administrator Bonita Burke stated:
“Cabrini is honored to have been the recipient of the $20,000 grant from the Field Hall Foundation. The funds are so appreciated, and have enhanced the lives of the residents living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The update to the garden is especially significant for the residents after experiencing feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression that were heightened due to the Covid-19 virus this past year. We are extremely grateful to have the support of the Field Hall Foundation.”