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Nature-based activities for people living with dementia: a nice day out or a question of human rights?

Evans, Simon and Atkinson, Teresa and Rogerson, Michael and Bray, Jennifer (2022) 'Nature-based activities for people living with dementia: a nice day out or a question of human rights?' Working with Older People, 26 (1). pp. 64-75. ISSN 1366-3666

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Abstract

Purpose There is growing interest in and evidence for the benefits of connecting with nature for people living with dementia, sometimes known as ‘green care’, including reduced stress, improved sleeping and even enhanced cognition. However, many people living with dementia are denied such opportunities, often because of practitioner perceptions of risk and poor design of outdoor spaces. This paper reports on the evaluation of a project that worked with national providers to give people living with dementia opportunities and support to access the natural environment. Design The evaluation adopted a mixed methods approach, using a combination of bespoke and commonly-used tools and in-depth case study work to identify the facilitators and challenges to delivering the project to explore the experiences of activity participants. Findings Qualitative measures indicated a significant improvement in mental wellbeing for participants with dementia and family carers following attendance at activity sessions. Research interviews indicated that participants enjoyed activities based on connecting with nature. Being outdoors was a major factor in the experience, along with taking part in activities that were meaningful and opportunities for social interaction. Originality This paper provides evidence for the benefits of connecting with nature for people living with dementia. We conclude that access to the outdoors is not a luxury, it is a basic human right and one which has become increasingly important in light of restrictions that have emerged as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: DAiAB; Dementia Adventure in A Box; dementia; natural environment
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 18:49
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 15:57
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31417

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