Feature Topic: Making the most of the day: Quality of life and Meaningful ActivityGardens of MemoriesBrawley, Elizabeth C. ASID, IIDA Author Information President of Design Concepts Unlimited, is an interior designer and recognized industry leader in environmental design for aging. The author of Designing for Alzheimer's Disease: Strategies for Creating Better Care Environments, she is an international speaker and consultant for designing environments for seniors and persons with cognitive impairment. (Brawley) Address correspondence to: Elizabeth C. Brawley, ASID, IIDA, Design Concepts Unlimited, PO Box 454, Sausalito, CA 94966. E-mail: [email protected]. Alzheimer's Care Quarterly: April 2004 - Volume 5 - Issue 2 - p 154-164 Buy Abstract Gardens are more than just another amenity or therapy—they're ultimately about quality of life. As we age, our ability to adapt to less than optimal conditions declines and the environment becomes increasingly important, particularly to those who are experiencing cognitive difficulties and diminishing physical dexterity. The Alzheimer's Association in partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects launched a unique design endeavor that resulted in the construction of 8 Alzheimer's Memory Gardens in cities across the United States. Throughout their lives, most people develop activities and interests—hobbies, likes and dislikes, skills and talents—that give their life structure and meaning and provide a sense of worth. Gardens are places that offer exposure to fresh air and sunshine and provide opportunities for exercise and familiar activities such as raising vegetables, filling the birdbath, cutting flowers, and sweeping the walk. These activities support movement and a sense of purpose while helping persons with cognitive impairment remain connected to nature and the world around them. Well-designed gardens are a practical intervention to increase exercise and mobility, minimize feelings of isolation, vulnerability, or loss of capabilities, improve depression, and enhance self-esteem. Carefully planned strategies to preserve the health and maximize the remaining abilities of persons with cognitive impairment should include gardens and outside spaces. ©2004Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.