Tabor Village opens therapeutic garden for seniors

Abbotsford campus of care makes gardening accessible

Tabor resident Dorothy Braun uses a special watering wand to irrigate dahlias she planted in a wheelchair-accessible

Tabor resident Dorothy Braun uses a special watering wand to irrigate dahlias she planted in a wheelchair-accessible

After breakfast, Dorothy Braun, with the assistance of her walker, goes to the central courtyard of Tabor Village’s care-home complex to check on the tomatoes.

Then she walks over to a wheelchair-accessible raised flower bed to water the blooming dahlias she planted, using a special hand-held wand she can easily turn on and off. Later, at lunch time, she joins other seniors outside on the covered patio to enjoy a BBQ that included herbs from a local chef’s garden.

On Sunday, June 29, hundreds of supporters of Tabor Village joined seniors who live on the campus of care to watch Dorothy and Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman cut a ribbon to open the new garden.

“I for one will be going out there more often, to sit in a chair and relax with beauty all around me,” said Dorothy as she thanked Tabor supporters.

“You all worked very hard to make it beautiful. The flowers alone are breathtaking and now we have wide sidewalks to enjoy the garden.”

Bill Dyck, chair of Tabor Village’s Family Council, told the opening ceremony that a special dream was now a reality.

The garden is “an outdoor space specifically planned to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the seniors using the garden as well as their caregivers, family members and friends,” said Dyck, whose wife, Charlotte, had Alzheimer’s disease and lived at Tabor for three years. When she passed away, friends and family so appreciated the care she received they started a community fundraising campaign for the garden.

It was designed by landscape architect Rusty Reimer and inspired by noted garden expert Brian Minter. It was constructed during countless hours over two months by Len Neufeld, board member of Tabor Home Society.

“Len, along with dozens of volunteers, did an amazing amount of work, and most of the materials were donated by those who have a heart and deep investment in the wellbeing and greater enjoyment of the seniors living at Tabor Village during the final stages of their life,” said Hildegard Bandsmer, chair of the Tabor Home Society.

“The new garden has opened up new opportunities for horticultural therapy enabling seniors to enjoy meaningful activities, said Dan Levitt, executive director, Tabor Village.  “The therapeutic garden is a great space for residents and their families, as well as for their caregivers.”