Sowing the seeds of resistance: empowering people with dementia through community gardening

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


My doctoral research explores the lived experience of a community gardening initiative from the perspectives of people with dementia, and this paper expands upon one of the central themes emerging from the findings: the role of community gardening as an act of resistance against the stigma faced by people with dementia. Many individuals with dementia face stigma from others as a consequence of their condition, which often becomes internalised, contributing to feelings of shame and lack of self-worth. Furthermore, the stigma associated with dementia fuels a sense of disempowerment experienced by many of those living with the condition, as they begin to believe the wider misconception of themselves as "victims" and "sufferers," rather than individuals who remain capable of living well. This multi-methodological study incorporated elements of phenomenology and action research, to explore the lived experience of the gardening initiative for people with dementia. Through leading weekly gardening sessions with people with dementia and conducting qualitative interviews following each session, I learned that active participation in a gardening initiative offers an opportunity for people with dementia to resist the limitations imposed upon them. In supporting people with dementia to thrive beyond negative stereotypes, the garden can facilitate a greater acknowledgement of the enduring abilities of people with dementia and encourage those living with dementia to assert themselves as active and capable citizens, redressing the imbalance of power associated with the condition and contributing to a more positive lived experience of dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2018
EventAging & Society: Eighth Interdisciplinary Conference: Aging, Health, Well-being, and Care in a Time of Extreme Demographic Change - Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 18 Sept 201819 Sept 2018


ConferenceAging & Society: Eighth Interdisciplinary Conference
Internet address


  • dementia
  • gardening


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