Dementia Adventure is an award-winning, innovative organisation that specialises in adventures which connect people living with dementia to nature and the great outdoors. The organisation believes in thinking differently about dementia, with a focus on the individual (and what they can still do), and not on the illness (and what they cannot do). They believe people can, through activity outdoors, live well with dementia, remaining connected to nature, their families, friends and community - and enjoy a sense of adventure in their lives.
Dementia Adventure's recent growth and success has been in no small part thanks to the support of players. With the generous £250,000 funding received to date, players directly help Dementia Adventure remain innovative and stay at the forefront of improving the lives of people living with dementia, as well as their family carers.
The funding has enabled Dementia Adventure to provide a wide range of activities, including offering holidays, creating dementia-friendly park walks, and giving training and support to a diverse range of organisations across the UK.
In 2015, Dementia Adventure delivered 17 holidays and short breaks, benefitting 109 people – exceeding last year's total. Rachel Arnold and her husband Brian joined Dementia Adventure on one of the holidays this year.
"My husband Brian and I have always enjoyed holidays. Taking time away from home is something that we want to keep doing; however this has become increasingly difficult, due to Brian having frontotemporal dementia. I read about the Dementia Adventure break on the Isle of Wight – five days, everything organised, all-inclusive, with a small number of couples (person with dementia and family member) attending, and support for each couple. It sounded like it could be brilliant or a nightmare. I was worried that it would be all about dementia rather than an escape from it. My fears were quickly allayed.
"We were with people who understood. I could relax and enjoy being looked after too. The other couples had very different issues, but we all understood each other's predicament and everyone pulled together. There was support when we needed it and space to be on our own as well. On being asked what he thought of the holiday, Brian, a man of few words these days, captured it brilliantly: 'Wonderful!'
"For weeks after the holiday, I found myself smiling and feeling relaxed. Brian equally seemed to feel the benefits. We had felt normal again and could be hopeful about the future."
Thanks to the generous support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, Dementia Adventure is expanding its range of holidays in 2016 to 18 planned holidays, with the potential to benefit 144 people, as well as expanding its range of outdoor activities and locations.