Therapy Garden Offers Rehabilitation for Patients with Brain Injuries

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ANKENY, Iowa  —  Recovering from a brain injury or neurological disorder can sometimes take years. A facility in Ankeny unveiled its new therapy garden to make rehabilitation feel a little less like therapy and more like real life.

On With Life in Ankeny has a 1.5-acre plot with this new therapy garden to help patients with all kinds of brain injuries and neurological disorders. They treat traumatic brain injuries like concussions., non-traumatic brain injury like a stroke, and other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, ALS, and MS.

“What [the therapy garden] allows us to do is challenge individuals in ways that are more like real life,” On With Life Clinical Director Dave Anders said.

Even something as simple as walking over gravel, grass, mulch, and brick compared to walking on the flat hospital floor challenges individuals by building muscle and balance. The garden has a musical therapy section where people can work on their physical and cognitive aspects of rehabilitation. There is even an agriculture area where folks can work on getting on and off a tractor.  John Jackson has been using the facility for a month now and has seen a lot of progress.

“Going from using a walker, maybe walking 100 feet and now using one crutch and walking a half a mile around the gardens,” Jackson said.

From the initial plans to the unveiling last Thursday the garden took about five years to build and cost around $1 million, all raised through philanthropy.


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