Project 2020: Livsgnisten garden in Lier, Norway
Partners: Bratromvegen 7/9 Cooperative, Urban Space Lab AS, Grete Rokstad and Else Marie Skogen
Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but caused by damage to brain cells affecting the ability to communicate. Behavior and feelings change. Coping with a degenerative brain disease carries with it a high financial, social, and emotional price. The disease is on the increase, and developers are building artificial cities for dementia patients. Large institutions and technical solutions lack the human touch.
Sensory gardens added to residential facilities can meet the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers, but lack funding. Urban Space Lab AS organized the first “plant lab” and hired horticulturist Else Marie Skogen to design and plant perennial beds. Family members raised NOK 45 000. Volunteers gathered, and together we created a living environment for the neighborhood with grape vines, fruit trees and bird friendly bushes. We are now spreading the word through tool kits and do it yourself advice.
Given the burdens of care, even small interventions may translate into improvements in the quality of life of both the resident and the caregiver. Plant labs swap the drab for the decorative, the impersonal with the social.