NHS Dumfries and Galloway
The aim of this project is to develop and deliver a two year programme of activities targeted at those people living with dementia who are from a farming background, living in the Stewartry area of Dumfries and Galloway.
The project team will work closely with key stakeholders including Alzheimer Scotland, the University of Stirling and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution to deliver the programme.
The Stewartry is one of four localities in Dumfries and Galloway and has a population of around 24,000, with around half of people living in rural locations. With a rising older population in the Stewartry, the proportion of older farmers is also set to rise, together with those being diagnosed with dementia. In 2014, 274 people were diagnosed with dementia in the locality and 63 referrals for additional support were received in the locality.
Through working on the Health and Wellbeing in the Farming Community Project, NHS Dumfries and Galloway has learnt of a growing concern for those from the agricultural community who have a diagnosis of dementia. In a rural location additional support is difficult. Should a move to a care home be required there is not only a change of home but a further disconnect to familiar surroundings, sights, smells and experiences of a rural and farming environment.
Farming is a life of being outdoors and when someone needs care and/or to cease their farming activities because of dementia, they can also lose touch with being outside in the environment which is a key part of their identity and memories.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway (Integrated Health and Social Care Team) will work with the farming community and a partnership of organisations including care homes, public and third sector organisations, to build a programme of activities for people living with dementia who are from a farming background.
Specific activities will include visits to farms, agricultural machinery suppliers, vintage machinery experiences, mart visits and support to attend agricultural shows. Activities will be spread out throughout the year so that participants can experience different seasons and weather.
Everyone who participates will have the opportunity to develop their own personal memory resource, so that memories and experiences can be revisited and shared with family and carers.
The project team will also develop a community farming memory resource borrowing farming implements from the museums, building a library of images, old and new, gathering recordings of sounds of the countryside and farming life, capturing smells and other sensory resources. These resources will be used in social group activities and also to bring the experience to those who may not be able to participate in visits.
Outcomes we'd like to see
With this project, we would like to see more opportunities for people living with dementia to take part in activities that connect them to farming, agriculture and the outdoors, resulting in:
- Increased physical activity and improved physical and mental well-being
- Increased confidence and participation in community
- A reduction in loneliness