For people with dementia, research shows that meaningful outdoor activity and connection with the natural environment can have a positive effect and can slow down the progression of the symptoms.
Source: Dementia Adventure website
Why does a forest school have Evergreen Elders?
The inspiration for Evergreen Elders is my mum: she is amazing, positive and inspirational; she’s always been there for me and always has the right advice too!
However, she has been living with dementia for the last 6 years and as the disease progresses there has been an inevitable change in mum’s mood, motivation and general being. In an effort to help slow the progress, small changes have been introduced to her diet and lifestyle things like getting into the garden, going for walks and just being outdoors. These always seem to lift her mood.
While I was training as a Forest School leader, I would often receive phone calls from mum – worried and confused by her surroundings and where she was. As I investigated and learnt more about the disease, I came across an amazing charity called Dementia Adventure, who delivered a number of informative training sessions about dementia, they were all brilliant and very informative but the one that most resonated with me was the Nature connection session. I recall watching a video about a man living with dementia who said he didn’t have to worry about remembering anything whilst out in nature he could “just be” and enjoy the sights and sounds.
Since starting Out to the Woods CIC it has been a priority to offer nature sessions to the wider community especially people living with dementia. We have been lucky enough to secure funding from KCC Dementia friendly communities and we are currently offering nature-based sessions at Age UK in Faversham. Another great organisation is the Sensory Trust, a charity who specialize in creating meaningful and lasting connections between people of all ages and abilities in the natural world. So far, we have used resources on getting to Know you through nature, the nature sense fortune teller, making a bird feeder and nature postcards – all these Nature activities and many more are available on their website.
Right now, people with dementia face more social isolation than ever before. And that’s why it’s never been more important to join Dementia Friends. Join today and you’ll learn more about dementia and find out the ways you can help. Whether it’s having a video call with a loved one, delivering shopping to a neighbour or volunteering for a charity, every action counts.