Archive for the ‘Dementia’ Category

Environments for Aging is just around the corner!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
TX wildflowers. By Naomi Sachs

Texas bluebonnets and Indian blanket flower. Photo by Naomi Sachs

The fantastic Environments for Aging conference is just around the corner…chronologically (April 9-12) and for me, geographically–it’s in Austin, TX! What a beautiful, fun, vibrant city for a conference. Not sure if the bluebonnets will still be blooming, but I’m sure other wildflowers will be. In fact, if you can take an extra day and go see the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, you will thank me.

I’ll be presenting with Susan Rodiek and Eric Bardenhagen on Sun, Apr 10 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM on “Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Outdoor Spaces to Optimize Usage” – see description below. And here are some other sessions I’m looking forward to attending. Hope to see you there!

Sun, Apr 10, 2016 – 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Gardens that Care: The Importance of Dementia-Enabling Outdoor Environments
Tara Graham-Cochrane, Director, DesignWELL Landscape Architects
Gardens designed specifically to support people with Alzheimer’s disease can minimize disorientation, provide essential prompts, and enable a person with dementia to engage meaningfully in daily life. Dementia-enabling outdoor environments are based on a set of best practice design principles developed by the presenter in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Australia and published in the book Gardens That Care: Planning Outdoor Environments for People with Dementia. Each principle aims to enable people with dementia to engage with the outdoors and connect with nature. Learn about these principles (orientation, accessibility, socialization, meaningful activity, reminiscence, sensory stimulation, safety, and sustainability) and best practices for their implementation.

Sun, Apr 10, 2016 – 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM
Longevity Park
Grant Donald, Landscape Architect, Silk Tree International
Active aging is the maximization of opportunities for health and well-being, involvement, and comfort and freedom in order to enhance the quality of life as people age. Providing outdoor spaces that support active aging and the physical and mental needs of the elderly is the key to the ongoing health and well-being of an aging population. Longevity Park in Beijing is a new prototype for a park that focuses on the requirements for active aging. The park features are specifically designed to cater to physical and mental abilities and disabilities prevalent in an older population.

Sun, Apr 10, 2016 – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Outdoor Spaces to Optimize Usage
Eric Bardenhagen, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
Susan Rodiek, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University
Naomi Sachs, Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network, Ph.D. Candidate, Texas A&M University
It’s well known that access to nature can benefit the health and well-being of older adults, but there’s little evidence available on designing outdoor areas so seniors will actually spend more time outdoors. This session will emphasize the health benefits of active aging and present a new research-based tool that can be used to evaluate existing outdoor spaces and guide the planning and design of future senior communities. Case studies will show how the tool is being used to evaluate facilities in the U.S., Italy, and Japan and can be adapted to a wide range of settings for seniors.

Sun, Apr 10, 2016 – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Active Living Design for Older Adults: Residential Environments
Sherry Ahrentzen and Elif Tural
As a risk factor for poor health, cognitive decline, and premature death, sedentary behavior is earning a reputation within public health as the “new smoking.” Behavioral and programmatic interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behavior have limited success. Alternatively, attention is focusing on how the designed environment can foster movement in regular daily routines—i.e., “active living design.” Based on a recently published systematic research review of real-life examples, this presentation identifies and illustrates evidence-based design factors that promote active living for older adults in residential environments, including ambient qualities, interior design elements, and building configurations.

Sun, Apr 10, 2016 – 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM
The Community’s Response to Successful Aging: A Best-of-Industry Panel Discussion
Ryan Frederick, Gail Kohn, Coordinator, Sandra Harris
Successful aging requires a healthy, vibrant, and responsive living environment. But truly successful environments for aging require a community-wide effort that coordinates housing with transportation, provides consistent community support, and includes health services that allow seniors to remain active and healthy participants in society. This best-of-industry panel assembles industry leaders who are addressing these very needs. Hear what key urban areas are doing from a variety of perspectives and take away best practices to inform your own community’s response.

Mon, Apr 11, 2016 – 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
A Review of the Winners from the 2015 EFA Design Showcase
Addie Abushousheh and Russ McLaughlin
This session will provide a forum for the EFA Design Showcase award winners to speak about their projects and the challenges they encountered during the design and construction process. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about the winning entries, learn about the competition submission process, and gain insight into key elements to include in their own submissions.

Mon, Apr 11, 2016 – 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM
The Impact of Visual Art on Sense of Place and Wayfinding for People with Dementia
Landon Mackenzie, Alison Phinney, Michael Wilson
Living temporarily in an unfamiliar environment can be upsetting and disorienting for people with dementia. Presenters will report findings from research examining how visual art can create a sense of place and support wayfinding for people with this disease. Emily Carr University art students created paintings for a transitional care facility, and University of British Columbia nursing students examined how residents perceived and experienced the artwork. Findings show that residents were attuned to the presence of the art, which influenced how they located themselves. Presenters will discuss the implications for guidelines on content, design, and positioning of paintings in transitional care environments.

Mon, Apr 11, 2016 – 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Buckner Villas: A SAGE Post-occupancy Evaluation
Addie Abushousheh, Amy Carpenter, Alec Sithong
This presentation will share results of a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of a household model, memory support residence, conducted by a multidisciplinary team. The evaluation will explore how the environment and operations work together to support quality of life along with areas that need improvement for better person-centered care. Two POE examiners spent 24 hours living in the household as residents, which provided them with a deeper look into care delivery and operations than a typical POE would show. Attendees will see images of the community alongside the results of the evaluation findings and will discuss why some environmental or operational decisions work and others miss the mark.

Tue, Apr 12, 2016 – 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Implementation of the Functional Program
Jane Rohde, Principal, JSR Associates Inc
With the adoption of the 2014 Guidelines for Design and Construction of the Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities, there is a requirement to provide a Functional Program. This session outlines the Functional Program process through the use of case studies. Attendees will explore how utilization of the Functional Programming process can assist design and provider teams to better understand how to respond to resident-desired outcomes, the organizational vision and mission, and the operational aspects for each activity occurring within and around a senior living setting—all of which can be better supported by the physical environment.

Tue, Apr 12, 2016 – 10:45 AM to 11:45 AM
Interprofessional Collaboration: The Role of Occupational Therapy in Senior Living Design
Lori Reynolds, Carolyn Sithong, Amy Wagenfeld, Debra Young
Occupational therapists have expertise in understanding human performance and the influence of health conditions on function. The profession’s ecological theories inform our practice approach to ensuring a good fit between the person and their environment to maximize independent function and well-being. With expertise and specialized knowledge, and a universal design approach to creating living environments, occupational therapists are uniquely qualified to consult with architects, planners, developers, and community agencies, along with local, state, and federal policymakers on planning and layout for built and natural environments. This session will discuss an interprofessional collaborative model for the design of senior living environments.

For more information and to register, visit the EFA website: See you in Austin!

Portland Memory Garden celebrates 10 years

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Wild ginger and ferns. Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

Portland Memory Garden Founders Day Weekend, June 2-3, 2012

In celebration of the Portland Memory Garden’s 10-year Anniversary, the Friends of the Portland Memory Garden will sponsor an educational panel discussion at Good Samaritan Hospital, Saturday, June 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Susan Rodiek, Associate Director of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University, will present the keynote address.

The Friends also plan a “garden” open house, June 3, noon to 3 p.m. The event will include guided tours, free nature crafts, music, and refreshments. The seminar and garden celebration are open to the public, though registration is required for the Saturday seminar. All seminar proceeds will go to support annual maintenance of the Portland  Memory Garden, located off S.E. Powell at 104th Avenue in Ed Benedict Park.

The garden is designed to meet the special needs of those with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and to provide respite for their caregivers. The garden is one of eight “memory gardens” in the U.S., and one of only two built on public land.

For more information contact Brian Bainnson at 503-256-8955 or visit

Recruiting Garden Volunteers: If you’d like to get your hands dirty in the Memory Garden they have two teams that meet on the first and third Saturday of every month, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Contact Patty Cassidy (1st Saturday) 503-239-9174 and Julie Brown (3rd Saturday) 503-367-5188.

The transportive power of scent

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Eucalyptus image courtesy of

Eucalyptus image from

The other day, I was going through a pile of papers and found an envelope that had been mailed to me by a friend five years ago. Having no recollection of what was inside, I opened it up again to find some leaves wrapped in wax paper. Eucalyptus leaves. And suddenly there I was, back in Berkeley, CA, standing in a grove of those tall, majestic trees.

They say that our olfactory system is the most powerful sense for triggering memory. Designers and horticultural therapists often use fragrant plants in gardens for people with dementia precisely because they are so effective. When we think of fragrance in the garden, we often stick to flowers. But if you’ve ever smelled freshly mown grass, or piñon trees after a New Mexico thunderstorm, or the crushed leaves of just about any culinary herb, you know that flowers are just part of the story.

This is the time of year when people are buying Christmas trees. To me, one of the nicest things about a live tree is the way it fills the room with its resiny aroma. Give me that and some eggnog with nutmeg (oh, and rum…) and I’m in the spirit.

For more reading on the importance of scent as a memory trigger and some of the research behind it, see these two previous TLN Blog posts:

Scent as Emotional Memory Trigger in the Healing Garden


More on Scent and Memory – Guest post by Wendy Meyer.” This post includes a link to Meyer’s thesis, “Persistence of Memory: Scent Gardens for Therapeutic Life Review in Communities for the Elderly.”

Do you have a fragrance that’s an especially strong memory trigger? Have you used it in your or your clients’ gardens? Leave a comment here!


Upcoming Event: Movie Night at the Portland Memory Garden

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Senior Movie Night Portland Memory GardenSenior Movie Night, a benefit for the Portland Memory Garden

Join us for a night out in the park!
Bring your friends, family, blanket and a picnic basket to enjoy live entertainment, free popcorn, and an outdoor movie.

Featuring “That’s Entertainment”  with Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and directed by Jack Haley Jr. as well as a resource fair, music, and raffle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Resource Fair 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Opening Act: The Sounds of Rayvis (Elvis) 7:00 p.m.
Raffle drawings 7:45 p.m.
Movie starts at dusk (approximately 8:00 p.m.)

Where: Portland Memory Garden
SE 104th Ave & Powell Blvd
Portland, OR

This event is Disability Friendly. Bring dinner and drinks, blankets and/or chairs for seating and make this an “oldfashioned outdoor movie” event.

For more information, visit

To view Portland Parks & Recreation’s complete FREE FOR ALL Summer 2010 schedule, visit and click on the summer free for all icon! We hope to see you there!

Portland Memory Garden Plan

Portland Memory Garden Landscape Plan

The Portland Memory Garden is located in Portland, Oregon off SE Powell at 104th Avenue in the southeast corner of Ed Benedict Park. This very special garden is open to the entire community, but was designed to meet the special needs of those with memory disorders (such as Alzheimer’s disease) and to provide respite for their caregivers. The garden was dedicated in May 2002 and is one of eight memory gardens in the U.S., and one of only two built on public land.

Hurrah! ‘Access to Nature for Older Adults’ Wins ASLA Award

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Access to Nature for Older Adults

Photo by Susan Rodiek

The 2010 ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Awards have been announced, and one of the winners is the excellent new DVD series, “Access to Nature for Older Adults: Promoting Health Through Landscape Design.” Yea! We’ve blogged about this DVD series before, and we’re so pleased that ASLA agrees that it’s a valuable educational and design tool. Here’s what the jury had to say:

“Many of the features that were found beneficial, if included in all landscape design activity, would result in superior design and experience for us all. Improving our interactions with our world and better mental health all around! Talks about landscape design specific to an older population, proving a point of the importance of landscape architects. It sets up a design hypothesis that is in need of proving. Everything it applies to older population also applies to everyone. The research has a much broader application than just the elderly population.”
—2010 Professional Awards Jury

And to celebrate, TLN members get a 15% discount off any or all three Access to Nature DVDs. You don’t even need to be an official TLN member (though we’d love it if you were: Join online – it’s free!). If you are a designer, or an administrator, or a health and human service provider, or an educator, or a student, or someone with parents or grandparents (hm, that would be everybody), you should buy this award-winning DVD series.

To order your Access to Nature DVDs with the 15% discount, visit the Access to Nature website, ( and at the checkout, enter the promotional code TLNA2N. If for some reason that code doesn’t work, try TLNA2Na (same code but with a lower-case “a” at the end). The website is also chock-full of good information, so it’s a good one to bookmark.

Access to Nature DVDs

This is actually the fourth award for Access to Nature series: It received the 2009 Environment + Design Award from CEAL – The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, and an early prototype of the Access to Nature program also won the Active Place Design Competition award in product design from EDRA, the Environmental Design Research Association, and a Viewer’s choice award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Congratulations again to Susan Rodiek and her team at Texas A & M University; keep up the good work, and thanks for extending the discount to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network!