Bank Australia’s Adam Ceeney busy pricking out native seedlings with our Alzheimer’s Australia ACT group.
Canberra residents living with dementia can now continue to reap the many physical and emotional benefits afforded by a volunteer program at Greening Australia’s community nursery, thanks to a welcome funding boost from Bank Australia.
The partnership between Greening Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia ACT provides people with dementia the opportunity to engage in meaningful work with others who are living with the disorder.
“Through the Alzheimer’s Australia ACT and Greening Australia program, I weed and prepare native trees and shrubs for replanting across the region. This work is ideal for me as I meet great guys each week and I get to work with nature,” says Bryan, program participant.
Members of the volunteer group getting their hands dirty weeding and potting in our Canberra Nursery.
Strong evidence indicates that keeping the brain and body active by doing practical, social and challenging activities such as volunteering may slow the progression of the disease which affects over 350,000 Australians.
“Every week, rain or shine, fifteen men and women join us at our community nursery to assist with meaningful environmental work that provides real on-ground outcomes. Tasks in our native nursery and seedbank operations which support our restoration work, such as weeding, seed cleaning and plant propagation, can be tailored to a range of abilities,” says Angela Calliess, Greening Australia’s ACT and Regional NSW Operations Manager.
Many hands make light work! Volunteers potting local native plants in the nursery.
One in ten Australians over the age of 65 are diagnosed with the disease but dementia can also affect younger people who still have high levels of fitness and the ability and desire to continue to take an active part in society.
“The relaxed and supportive environment provides an opportunity for people to socialise and connect, and leaves them with a sense of fulfillment.”
“We have had wonderful feedback about the program so far, with participants, their families and professionals from Alzheimer’s Australia ACT reporting on the many positive impacts they are seeing. People leave each week feeling excited, knowing they have done something really valuable,” says Angela.
“We are very grateful to Bank Australia for giving us the chance to continue this worthwhile and valuable program into 2017,” says Angela.
Greening with Meaning is funded through the Bank Australia Impact Fund.