Care farms are extensively used in the Netherlands as an alternative to day care centres for people in need of care, including people with dementia. They aim to offer new care concept directed towards small-scale and homelike environments.
The care is often organized in smaller units, usually with 6–8 residents, in which personal care and daily routines are integrated. The care staff performs tasks such as cooking, cleaning and gardening together with the residents. This psychosocial care concept seeks to allow people to continue, as much as possible, the life they had before admission and promotes person centered care and quality of life. It also supports as much as possible the autonomy of the residents, letting them make their own choices and encouraging social interaction and participation in activities.
Studies have shown that being engaged in activities allows people with dementia to connect with other people and is associated with a higher quality of life. Other aspects related to the daily lives of people with dementia such as social relations, interaction with the physical environment can also influence quality of life.
‘De Port’ is an example of green care farms hosting residents with psycho-geriatric or somatic problems: http://deport.nl/ (Watch a video - in Dutch – presenting ‘De Port’ here).
Farms promoting therapeutic use of farming practices are also developing across Europe, but not always aimed at older people, as for instance in the UK: https://www.carefarminguk.org/