Can Getting Back to Nature Help Improve the Lives of Those Living with Dementia?

Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 3rd of December 2015.

News

If you are living with dementia, or know a loved one with the condition, you might be aware that withdrawal is a very common symptom. Whether it’s due to embarrassment, fear, depression, or anxiety, people with dementia often retreat from everyday life, cutting off social contacts and disengaging from the ones they love. As a result of this, many people with dementia can find that their world becomes increasingly smaller and lonelier, limited to their own house or care home.

Fortunately one charity has seen a way through. Cornwall-based Sensory Trust have pioneered a project named Creative Spaces, dedicated to helping those with dementia to connect with nature, enjoy a life outside their home, make new friends, and learn new skills that will help them lead a happy and fulfilling life.

The project works by helping people to set up their own outdoor activity groups. People can choose to take part in whatever activity they like; so far the project has overseen walking groups, fishing groups, woodland skills classes, and many more.

Project manager Wendy Brewin says that the outdoor groups have seen participants quality of life improve rapidly. By making new friends and being able to bring their own skills to a particular group, people with dementia are able to regain a sense of control, confidence, and dignity as well as staving off unhappiness and boredom.

Since being established in 2014, the project has blossomed. The charity reports that dementia care professionals from all around the country have requested further groups to be set up in their own areas as well as referring patients to existing groups.

If your loved ones is living with dementia, why not refer them to a local group – or set up your own – through the Creative Spaces website (http://www.sensorytrust.org.uk/projects/creative_spaces/index.html). Alternatively, take inspiration from the project and head outside to partake in a nature-based activity such as gardening, walking, or even just reading in the garden. It could do your loved one a world of good.