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Potted History - memories through nature

Potted History at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening

A gardening and reminiscence project that makes use of memory and nature-based activities to improve the self-confidence and wellbeing of socially-isolated older people

Spending time in nature is good for all of us, and there are plenty of benefits for older people, including gentle physical activity, diversion from worries or preoccupations, and opportunities to learn something new and meet new people...

Spending time in nature is good for all of us, and there are plenty of benefits for older people, including gentle physical activity, diversion from worries or preoccupations, Vitamin D from the sunshine and opportunities to learn something new and meet new people. 

Many older people used to enjoy gardening, or walks in natural places, but are now unable to do this on their own. Potted History facilitates their reconnection with nature in a manageable way using raised planting beds and tasks designed to suit each person's capabilities.

Reminiscence involves the discussion of past activities, events and experiences as a group, by taking part in activities and using objects from the past such as photographs, household items, scents, music and film to trigger the memory. For example, the growing of plants, herbs and flowers enable older people to reminisce about gardens that they had long ago, or about the foods they used to enjoy.

Stimulation of early memories can help improve cognition in older people, and both reminiscence and gardening therapies are proven to be an effective strategy for improving short-term memory and also preventing depression in older people.

Potted History provides a unique and stimulating programme of activities at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening and at other community venues across south London.

In a peaceful environment, the regular participants take part in practical gardening and food growing, creative arts and crafts, making natural remedies and group discussions which encourage the recollection and discussion of both personal and collective memories. Activities focus on healthy living and physical wellbeing.

Potted History also reaches out to older people who cannot travel to the Centre for Wildlife Gardening, through sessions at venues such as day centres, residential care homes, medical centres and community centres, bringing nature based activities and reminiscence to groups of older people. This enhances the quality of life of less physically-able older people and those experiencing more advanced memory loss.

Potted History - a short video shows how participants enjoy and benefit from the project 

Film by Theo Wallis: email info@theowallis.co.uk

 

For more information about the Potted History project, please call project officer Joanna Ecclestone at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening on 020 7252 9186 or email jecclestone@wildlondon.org.uk