What is the value of the outdoors for someone living with dementia?

What is the value of the outdoors for someone living with dementia?
Active Minds Nature

Delve into the world of neurodegenerative diseases, as Active Minds highlights the importance of valuing the outdoors for those living with dementia.

Spending time in the outdoors holds many benefits, from achieving the necessary dose of Vitamin D to exploring our senses and socialising, and this is no different for someone living with dementia.

Whilst extra care may be necessary, there is true value to experiencing the outdoors when living with dementia. Here we will explore just some of the many benefits and activities which would be suitable.

Sensory exploration

As we age it’s common for our senses to decline and it’s therefore important to explore different ways of engaging them to stay connected. When living with dementia, our connection to the world may feel even more distant, as communication difficulties arise, it is therefore vital that other dementia activities are explored. The outdoors provides an excellent multi-sensory platform and can be brilliant way to explore the senses.

Encouraging your loved one to take part in activities such as gardening or bird watching can be great for exploring the senses. The sounds of wildlife, partnered with the scents and sights of the flowers along with the feel of the plants can be excellent for multi-sensory exploration and evoking positivity.

Let’s talk about reminiscence activities

When living with dementia memories and experiences can sometimes become confused or forgotten, which can become highly frustrating. A variety of reminiscence activities have been explored which have been shown to be able to trigger memories in those living with dementia. As our memories are often linked to a specific location or place, exploring these places could be excellent for sparking memories.

Why not visit somewhere familiar to your loved one could help to draw out memories of the past, and in turn encourage conversation and improve mood.

Time to get more social

A common occurrence as we age is the increase in loneliness, and this has been shown to be highly prevalent in those living with dementia. As communication difficulties make it more difficult to hold conversations, other activities should be explored to achieve a level of socialisation.

An excellent way to encourage socialisation and conversations outdoors would be to take part in activities such as group gardening, exercising together, or simply going on walk and identifying plants or animals in a group.

Physical well-being

A hugely important part of our health involves staying physically active, and this is especially important as we age in order to help maintain abilities. Although mobility may provide some restrictions, there are still plenty of outdoor activities which would be suitable.

As someone moves along their dementia journey, mood changes and depression can become more common and as exercise has been linked to improving mood, this is a fantastic way to help relieve stresses and anxieties. Why not encourage your loved one to join you on a gentle walk which gives the opportunity to get exercise along with spending time outdoors and improving mood.

With such a wide variety of benefits of experiencing the outdoors when living with dementia, it is important that these are explored in order to improve everyday mental and physical well being.

Active Minds
www.active-minds.org/uk/

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