eCite Digital Repository

“I used to be a gardener”: communal gardens as conduits for Age Care residents to activity, identity, and to others


Marsh, P and Fielder, H, 'I used to be a gardener': communal gardens as conduits for Age Care residents to activity, identity, and to others, The 2019 Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, 9-13 July, Hobart, Tasmania (2019) [Conference Extract]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

Official URL:


This paper reports on a recent study conducted in the south of Tasmania involving residents of a rural age care facility. We aimed to understand how residents, including people living with dementia, access communal garden sites and whether this fostered the acts of gardening and social engagement. The research arose from concerns raised by members of a supported community gardening program, DIGnity. For the first 6 months of this unique therapeutic horticulture program, residents from the local RACF were regularly attending. However, after a winter break the residents did not return, and an on-site garden had been established in the facility.

Was this on-site RACF garden a more suitable site, or a less-than adequate solution designed to accommodate institutional restrictions?

Using a process consent method, 13 semi-structured interviews were held with residents, family members and staff. Results show multi-faceted ways residents relate to and access communal garden sites and important ways people living with dementia were able to maintain their identities as gardeners, improve their quality of life and assuage loneliness. Importantly, they enabled people to find meaning and maintain their sense of self. However, accessing the communal garden sites both in and outside of the facility was challenging.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:therapeutic space, community gardens, ageing, dementia, health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health and community services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Marsh, P (Dr Pauline Marsh)
UTAS Author:Fielder, H (Ms Hannah Fielder)
ID Code:134106
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2019-07-25
Last Modified:2019-07-26
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page