New funding grant ensures the grass will always be greener at Balhousie

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Residents in Balhousie Care Homes across Angus are set to benefit from a new funding project, formed in conjunction with Voluntary Action Angus and Tayside Bio-diversity.

The funding will see Balhousie’s Angus Care Home gardens and outdoor spaces a hive of activity with items such as bird tables, feeders and boxes, hanging baskets, planters, window boxes and seeds, as well as some more unusual wildlife encouragement items such as hedgehog hibernation shelters and bug hotels.

Not only is this a great opportunity for many residents to engage with nature, it is also enables Balhousie to ensure their eco foot-print is as green as can be. Balhousie have committed themselves to protecting plants, insects and giving nature a home, something that is so important in a world where wildlife populations are depleting and in some cases, disappearing altogether.

Health benefits for residents

Tayside Bio-Diversity facilitated a training day last September at Balhousie Head Office. Balhousie staff and residents attended the interesting and very informative day. Highlighted were ways in which these items could best be implemented in order to maximize resident engagement and ultimately, enjoyment from them.

The health benefits that can be gained from spending time in nature are well documented, with research showing that both mental and physical benefits can be witnessed in people, even after a very short period of time. Many of Balhousie’s residents have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and a range of therapies are offered within their homes. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, shows that long-suffering dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are known to have decreased symptoms following time spent in gardens or after being exposed to horticultural therapy. As this type of therapy is already used in the homes, staff are particularly excited at the prospect of expanding resources and therefore increasing resident engagement.

Community involvement

Residents will not only be able to enjoy the results of the funding project, they can also get involved with the creation if they wish. A lot of the items, such as the bird boxes and feeders will be made by volunteers from Voluntary Action Angus’ Skill Share group and residents and staff have been invited along to help. Community is important to both staff and residents alike at Balhousie and it is a great opportunity for different generations to work towards a shared goal, learn from one and other, share skills and of course have fun and get creative at the same time

The project kicks off in April, with help and support being offered at every stage by Tayside Biodiversity. Balhousie can’t wait to welcome some new friends to their gardens as a result, be it of the feathered, furry or eight-legged variety! After all, it is said that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere.