The aim is to develop a project that will work with people living with dementia in Glasgow on practical outdoor projects to improve their local greenspace, learn about and share their own knowledge of local wildlife for the benefit of the participants themselves, local wildlife and communities.
In Glasgow there are approximately 8,000 people living with dementia, living in their own homes, hospitals and within care and residential homes. Reports by Natural England - the 2013 ‘Greening Dementia’ and the 2016 ‘Is It Nice Outside?’ reports - highlight the substantial benefits of being outside and engaging with the natural environment for those living with dementia. These include benefits for people’s:
- emotional state
- physical health
- verbal expression
- memory and attention
- sense of well-being,
- social interaction
- sense of belonging
The reports also noted several barriers to people living with dementia engaging with the natural environment, including:
- a lack of awareness among greenspace organisations and their staff,
- the costs of resourcing visits (including transport and carer costs)
- the impact of risk aversion among people living with dementia, their carers and service providers
- issues with signage
- information and accessibility at sites
Froglife is a national amphibian and reptile conservation charity whose aim is to see a world in which reptile and amphibian populations are flourishing as part of healthy ecosystems. They engage diverse communities in wildlife conservation, focussing particularly on people who, for a range of social reasons, are often excluded from taking part.
For this project Froglife will work with three care homes and two groups recruited with the help of partnering organisations (e.g. the Glasgow Dementia Resource Centre) to develop and deliver practical, wildlife themed activities to people living with dementia. Froglife will deliver up to 55 of these activity sessions over the course of the 18 month funding period, with sessions arranged flexibly to suit the needs of participants and their carers.
Participants will also be given a high degree of choice over the activities they take part in. The project officer will first consult with greenspace/outdoor site owners/managers to determine what activities the site could support, then provide a variety of options to participants. Activities might range from nature walks and tree/insect identification to more practical activities such as creating wildflower meadow areas, building bird boxes and creating new ponds, bog gardens and hibernacula.
As well as the benefits for participants, the project will result in at least three greenspaces being improved for wildlife and local communities.
Outcomes we'd like to see
With this project we would like to see the removal of the barriers preventing people living with dementia from accessing the natural environment, resulting in:
- Improved physical and mental wellbeing.
- Increased confidence and participation in community
- A reduction in loneliness
Read more about the Froglife Trust on their website: www.froglife.org/