People living with dementia in the Borders are benefiting from a new project that helps them connect with the outdoors through activities based in local woodlands. A funding award of £15,000 has been made by the Life Changes Trust to Instinctively Wild, an organisation which focuses on outdoor learning and health.
Following two successful pilot projects in 2016, Instinctively Wild has teamed up with NHS Borders to develop a two year programme of activities for people living with early onset dementia, based at Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre near Jedburgh.
Many people with dementia find that, because of difficulties associated with their illness, they have fewer opportunities to participate in the outdoor interests they once enjoyed. This project addresses this by building a programme of activities based in the local countryside that involves people with dementia in weekly outdoor sessions.
Each session includes a walk, music and singing with a local musician, learning about the woodlands themselves, collecting nature objects and having a blether over a cup of tea – with additional activities each week.
The project aims to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of participants, and also provide opportunities for social interaction and the development of supportive relationships.The project also supports the development of relationships between carers, encouraging them to come together to take part in activities for themselves.
Pete Carthy, Founding Director of Instinctively Wild, said, “We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding award from the Life Changes Trust. During our pilot projects, we saw very clearly the benefits to those participating of getting outdoors, meeting other people through this, and taking part in some gentle activities. The funding ensures that we can bring these benefits to even more people over the next two years.”