Memorial garden helps Halifax veterans improve health, well-being
The veterans’ memorial garden at a Halifax hospital provides the veterans who reside there a safe and secure place to enjoy the outdoors.
Close to 200 veterans live at the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s Camp Hill Hospital. The garden, which came to life 17 years ago, is used by hospital recreation therapy staff for patient activities.
Its accessible pathways are perfect for walking groups and a special duet wheelchair bicycle.
“We use the space all summer long,” says Kristen Clark, recreation therapist. “We do programs out here, structured programs as well as spontaneity; we can just pick up and take the veterans outside any time we want.”
Resident Nancy Young says she loves spending time in the garden.
“I enjoy all the nice flowers and I like to garden, I've always gardened,” says Young.
Fundraising events are held to help maintain the grounds, and military members volunteer their time to clean up the garden at the beginning of summer and before winter.
Volunteers also stop by for a visit, including children from the YMCA, who like to visit their 'grandfriends.'
“You can see the benefits that this space has, and not just this space, but multiple spaces that we have access to in the building,” says Clark. “This garden – the smiles that it brings and the opportunities that it brings and the relationships and the friendship building that it brings to the veterans, you can't put a price on that.”
Memorial services are held throughout the year at the garden’s cenotaph and veterans' families are able to donate to the space by purchasing plaques to line the ‘Walk of Honour.'
“It's just a joy to come out here, and usually when I come out, I walk around back and see the cenotaph,” says Young. “It's really, really beautiful.”