Dementia Adventure clients on holiday

Dementia Adventure clients on holiday

A charity that helps people with dementia get outdoors has received a cash boost.

The Big Lottery Fund has given almost half a million pounds to Dementia Adventure for its activities.

The charity said getting people outdoors helps them retain a sense of adventure in their lives.

Dementia Adventure provides short breaks and holidays, training, support and research to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. The new grant will be used to expand the scale of its work.

Over the next three years, Dementia Adventure will work with the Abbeyfield Society, Care Farming UK, the Conservation Volunteers, Methodist Homes Association and Provide CIC. Together they will create and sustain outdoor activities for people with dementia as well as making their existing activities more inclusive.

Dementia Adventure chief executive Neil Mapes said: “We know that people living with dementia can benefit emotionally, socially and physically from activity outdoors.

“Engaging with nature can improve quality of life, build confidence and help lessen the impact of the dementia. Our research has also identified the barriers to nature-based interventions, such as fears, safety concerns and practical support.

“This grant will enable us to start delivering the solutions to these barriers on a bigger scale than we have been able to before now.”

Maureen Pike, who cares for her husband, went on a supported Dementia Adventure holiday and recognises the difference outdoor activities can make. She said: “The biggest change in Mike since his diagnosis is in how active he is.

“He used to be very active and now he stays indoors much more, particularly as he can get confused in our own garden. When we get out it gives us a sense of achievement and it relieves boredom by keeping our minds active.

“This holiday definitely benefited us. We find Mike is more relaxed when we’re away and his memory improves too. He remembers parts of his holidays in a way he doesn’t remember other things.”

The project will be independently evaluated by teams at the University of Worcester and the University of Essex. Dr Simon Evans, head of research at the Association for Dementia Studies at Worcester said: “There is a growing body of evidence that suggests people living with dementia can benefit enormously from getting outdoors and accessing the natural world.

“Our research aims to shed a light on how training and supporting other organisations to deliver outdoor adventure activities locally could extend the benefits to a greater number of people living with dementia across the UK.”

Joe Ferns, UK portfolio director at the Big Lottery Fund said: “It’s great to see National Lottery funding helping Dementia Adventure to share their ideas and what they’ve learnt with organisations across the UK so they can help improve the lives of even more people.”