“Scents bring back my memories”

2020-10-12 

Researchers at the University of Gävle are developing an app that is aimed to inspire both residents and staff at residential care facilities to use the garden to promote well-being and health.

Boende på omsorgsboende i trädgården


The use of digital technology and garden in the promotion of the health of residents and staff has been the focus of an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Gävle.

In 13 municipalities and 3 counties in northern and central Sweden, researcher in caring science Eva Dahlkvist has studied how gardens at nursing homes for older people are used. She has also focused on how residents and staff view the importance of the garden for the residents’ health.

“I observed how the garden can stimulate all senses, evoke old memories and how the garden’s lush greenery can promote the residents’ well-being, and this is what we want to use the garden for,” Eva Dahlkvist explains.

App to inspire spending time outdoors and to have conversations

Sit for a while in the sun, The wind, The clouds, The rain

Sit for a while in the sun, The wind, The clouds, The rain

Eva came into contact with Marita Wallhagen, who is experienced in digital tools and green architecture, and Eva Bergsten, researcher in occupational health, and together they developed some material designed to inspire managers and staff to use gardens to promote well-being.

“We have developed a prototype for an app that can be used to evoke memories and to inspire conversations about earlier experiences in nature and in this way serve as an inspiration to spend more time in the garden.


“With this material, nothing can go wrong”

Many members of staff felt that it was great fun and stimulating to explore the garden with the older people.

“I remember one voice from a member of staff: ‘With this material, nothing can go wrong. Learning about nature, flowers and birds is such a positive experience. You can look at a bird, hear the bird sing and then you can talk about it.’ And an older lady said: ´Seeing a flower, or thinking about its scents, brings back memories; scents bring back memories.’”

The digital prototype can be found at a website, and they have applied for funding to develop the app in collaboration with Jonas Klingström, developer at the Harriet AB.

When the app development is completed, it is to be evaluated in a follow-up study. The project group envisages that the app can be useful in pre-schools and in other organisations as well, whenever the aim is to learn more about nature and biodiversity.

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Other participants:
Ingela Enmarker, professor i caring science, University of Gävle

Johan Larsson, docent in occcupational health science, Senior working environment strategist – LKAB i Östersund

Nils Ryrholm, professor in biology, University of Gävle

Magnus Stenmark, PhD, business area manager, Calluna AB

Contact

Eva Dahlkvist, lecture in caring science at the University of GävlePhone: 072-465 13 38
E- mail: Eva.Dahlkvist@hig.se

Marita Wallhagen, project manager for Augmented Urbans, architect and senior lecturer in environmental technology at the University of Gävle, project manager for the project: "The Garden in Health and Care, a health-promoting resource in the smart, sustainable and vibrant city."
Phone: 070-600 96 68
E- mail: marita.wallhagen@hig.se

Eva Bergsten, senior lecturer in occupational health at the University of Gävle
Phone: 072-2623771
E- mail: eva.bergsten@hig.se



Text: Douglas Öhrbom

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2020-10-12
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)