dementia, communities & environments

Our Creative Spaces in the Community project is using the outdoors and nature-focused activities to build social networks, foster independence and enhance the physical and mental health of older people living with dementia in rural communities in Cornwall.

We'll be using this section as a place to generally share our thoughts on dementia and those it affects, including relevant projects, events, activities etc. If we've read it, written it, seen it or heard it and we think it should be 'out there' then here's where we'll share it.

Nature and Cognitive Stimulation

Today is  session number 12 of our 14 week Cognitive Stimulation and Nature Therapy trial.

We're working with Memory Matters South West, exploring if the addition of nature-based activities and increase access to outdoor environments enhances CST sessions.

CST is a proven therapy for people with mild to moderate dementia.  It follows an established set of themes for a period of 14 weeks and research has shown that it has a beneficial effect on people's cognitive abilities.   So we thought "what would happen if you add our nature-based approaches to a CST course?  Would there be any additional benefits?  Would there be no impact at all?"

We joined forces with Memory Matters South West who run CST sessions, activity clubs,  provide one to one support through their activity workers and offer training in dementia awareness.  So far we've planted seeds,  played outdoor games, created 'sound cards', matched plants with landscapes and orienteered ourselves around an outside environment using objects as clues, pictorial images and maps.

Today's session is about numbers so our nature element is based around locating Fibonacci numbers in plants outdoors.  We'll be searching for spirals - snail shells, curled fern leaves etc - and flower petals numbered 3,5 8 and possibly 13.  The weather's dry so it's a good morning for a nature treasure hunt outdoors!

The course finishes in a couple of weeks and myself and Laura from MMSW will be presenting our activities and findings at this year's UK Dementia Congress in November.  If you're going to be there, come along and say "Hi!" - we love to hear if you've used any of the activities from our website or been inspired by any of the methods/activities we've used in Creative Spaces.

I'll leave you with some Fibonacci in nature pics:

Project Manager