Therapeutic garden blooms at North East Point


09-December-2011

That’s a garden which belongs to the staff and patients of the Regional Home for the Elderly at North East Point.
But this is no ordinary garden!

Unwinding through a game of dominoes

It is what is known as a ‘therapeutic garden’ set up at the initiative of the Occupational Therapy Unit of the Ministry of Health.

The garden, comprising fruits, vegetables as well as a variety of flowers and other plants, caters for patients with mental health problems as well as other residents of the Regional Home for the Elderly at North East Point.

There, they can unwind -- that is, play games like dominoes, listen to the radio, read magazines or just relax after lunch.

The garden also allows them to get out of bed and enjoy the fresh air!

This green space also brings the residents closer to home so to speak, as it reminds them of the good old days, when they themselves were busy tending their flowers and vegetables in their own small front or back gardens.

Now, plants in the garden include various potted species as well as creepers, pawpaw and banana trees, potato tubers and spices like spring onions and thyme.

Some of the plant species have been generously donated by staff themselves, while others have been obtained from Victoria Market and other sources.

Five to six persons with mental health problems have the task of looking after the plants and fruit trees on a daily basis, with the assistance of staff of the Regional Home for the Elderly at North East Point and the Psychiatric Hospital.

Tending the plants in the therapeutic garden

The therapeutic garden is open to visitors on weekdays from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon.
And the residents’ relatives are encouraged to see what their family members have been able to achieve as part of their therapy programme.

Geralda Charlette of the Occupational Therapy Unit of the Ministry of Health says the unit plans to introduce medicinal plant species such as ayapana (yapannan in Kreol), “Mont -O-Syel,” as well as “Bwa Malgas.”

The aim is to enable visitors to know more about these plants which are rare and which the younger generation may be quite unfamiliar with.

Writing in the book “Open Spaces, Sacred Places,” about the importance of a garden, Jerry Waters, an American from a group called “Firesoul”, points out that “wherever we go in the world, no matter what progress our society achieves, we will always need open spaces filled with nature that let us recharge our soul and see the world in a fresh light.”

Contributed by Garry Lepathy

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