PLANTING: Antony Perring and David Barnier are embarking on a new gardening enterprise to help aged care residents live more naturally.
PLANTING: Antony Perring and David Barnier are embarking on a new gardening enterprise to help aged care residents live more naturally. Clair Morton

Irons and Craig sow the seeds of change for elderly

WHAT'S in a garden?

A lot more than flowers and vegetables, if you ask Irons and Craig owners David Barnier and Antony Perring.

The couple has recently embarked on a philanthropic venture to build edible, floral and sensory gardens in aged care facilities, in order to enrich the lives of the residents and the greater community.

And in the not too distant future they may want your help to do it.

Last week they had their first meeting with Caroona Aged Care, who were the first of six nursing homes approached to commit to the project which will be run by the facility's residents along with school groups, businesses and individual volunteers.

The idea is for each garden they develop to become self-sustainable.

"Ultimately we'd like to see how the pilot project goes and then look at how to reproduce it in other centres," Mr Barnier said.

"It's all about bringing the community in, whether it's schools, businesses or individuals, and getting the aged care out of an institution."

The idea came to Mr Barnier months ago through his work as a speech pathologist, for which he spends a large amount of time working with elderly patients.

"Traditionally with aged care homes you accepted what it was, for our parents' generation you say "that's it", but for baby boomers they're going to be much more demanding," Mr Barnier said.

Mr Perring said it was through this project that some of those demands could be met, and the barriers of institutionalisation broken down.

"Projects like this can help to break down barriers and normalise community involvement in that nursing home space," he said.

"It's not going to be a beautifully designed thing, it's going to be a practical thing people can use like they would in their backyard when they're not able to do that anymore."

"We're just there as a support to make it work."



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