Friday, May 13, 2011

A Garden to Remember

Last night, 170 community leaders kicked-off RCIL’s fundraising efforts for a beautiful garden to be built outside of the Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy on Genesee Street. Susan Matt, a dedicated community supporter, was roasted and toasted and raised thousands. The design of this space transpired from an on-going relationship with Rust to Green, a city-wide initiative launched by Cornell professor, Paula Horrigan. Once built, the outdoor living space will be enjoyed by the over 40 participants served daily in the Adult Day Services program along with the broader community.

Aging in place
Aging in place is the ability for a person, despite health-related conditions, to remain living independently in their home in the midst of their community. To achieve this goal, seniors must maintain their health physically, emotionally, cognitively, and psycho-socially. However, coordinating care and services can be difficult because the delivery system is often fragmented, and needed services may be difficult to find or not always available. The Adult Day Services program provides holistic care and allows for members of our community to be cared for, while still maintaining independence in living within their community.

Alzheimer’s gardens
Over the last decade, research has demonstrated the benefits of gardens as therapeutic for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a calming place when “sundowning” occurs – the classic wandering and agitation associated with dementias. Among the flowers and herbs we can look, hear, taste, touch, and smell and enjoy one of the few spaces that truly allows for universal access. Gardens, too, provide private space for thought and reflection and reminiscence about favorite places from earlier years.

Re-birth of a city
Already a green building with geothermal power, the addition of a frontward-facing, sustainable garden at the Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy is part of a broader effort to revitalize Utica. As part of its mission to advance projects that improve urban livability, sustainability and resilience, Rust to Green (R2G) provided the technical experience in landscape design to both preserve the character and space of a beautiful old building into what will be a beacon beauty in a city that’s struggled to grow. Click here for more information on R2G.

Beauty. Hope. Remembrance. Let’s build a garden to remember.

For more information, contact Diana Sorrento at 797-4642.

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