What does "the Social Approach" on a "Green Care Farm" mean?

Home4All follows "the Social Approach" when caring for people with dementia. This approach, described by Prof. Anne-Mei The in the Netherlands, is based on the fact that the change in behaviour in people with dementia is not only caused by the disease itself, but also by the way that society views those with dementia. This makes dementia a social issue as well as a medical one. The Social Approach focuses on the interplay between the disease; how those involved deal with the disease; and the reaction of the environment (you can find more information on the Social Approach and the work of Prof. Anne-Mei The here). The aim is to restore self-confidence and autonomy in people with dementia.

People with dementia, like everybody else, want to make valuable contributions to the world around them by using their skills and talents in meaningful activities that are related to their interests. They want to be of use, to care for others and to feel they are still able to achieve something. This requires a person-centred approach, as each person experiences dementia in a different way. At Home4All we want to create a supported space that enables our visitors to achieve this.

Anne-Mei The
“The aim is to restore self-confidence and autonomy in people with dementia.”

The Green Care Farm model

Home4All is a “green care farm”-type environment, where nature, being outside, and the care for animals and garden play an important role. Whatever the stage of the dementia process, the experience of these components remains mainly unchanged in the perception of the person with dementia. Most of the activities that our visitors can choose from relate to caring for animals, looking after the vegetables or flower garden, repairing/creating raised beds, fencing etc. These activities stimulate the mobility of our visitors in a natural way. Those with artistic desires and talents can also participate in art and craft activities inside the house or in the workshop.

Most people with early dementia live at their own home, liveeither together with their partner or on their own. Meeting others and socialissing (doing things together) areis important to prevent social isolation. This vacuum is addressed at Home4All by spending time together during activities, morning and afternoon tea and enjoying a shared cooked lunch with everyone sitting around the table. Sharing stories and expressing their feelings in a like-minded environment create safety and acceptance.

Dementia touches not only the person with dementia but also their partners, whanau and wider community. Within the concept of the Social Approach they play an important role. Home4All organises support moments that are open for visitors and their family to share knowledge, experiences, great moments of which we all benefit. Family is welcome to join in the daily activities as they long as it benefits our visitors and themselves. To underpin the social aspect we also organise monthly family social Saturday’s to catch up with all sorts of jobs that will benefit our visitors during the week.

Further information

Home4All wants to function as a resource/knowledge centre for the “green care farm” model and the “social approach” in dementia care in New Zealand. Below you’ll find links to articles on both topics.