Dementia Adventure is an award-winning, innovative organisation that specialises in short-breaks that connect people living with dementia, and their family carers, to nature and the outdoors. The organisation believes in thinking differently about dementia, focusing on the individual and their abilities, not on the illness itself. They believe that people can live well with dementia and continue to enjoy a sense of adventure in their lives.
Dementia Adventure's success has been in no small part thanks to the support of players. With the generous £400,000 funding received to date, players directly help Dementia Adventure to keep the cost of short-breaks affordable for more people. As a result, in 2016 it is expanding its range of holidays offered to 18 planned holidays, with the potential to benefit 144 people.
Their research shows that the short-breaks are having a positive effect on the well-being of people living with dementia (and their carers) for a considerable time after they have ended. Over 50% of clients report that the benefits last between two and six months.
One 2015 holiday client had this to say about the holiday: "The knowledge that a fully-supported holiday is available to us is very important for long-term well-being. It gives us something to look forward to that we would not have had otherwise. Meeting familiar people (particularly Adventure Leader Jesse) on each holiday makes it a much more comfortable experience, as we know we can trust those people to be caring. The volunteers are generally very inspiring, dedicated and supportive to both of us."
Dementia Adventure also trains other organisations and care professionals in how to support people living with dementia benefit from outdoor activity and a connection with nature. In support of Dementia Awareness week, here are some simple ways in which you can do that:
- Do something that is nature-focused or outdoors. Take a stroll, sow some seeds or listen to the birds.
- Regular time spent outside helps with sleep patterns as light levels stimulate hormones. Take a few minutes to sit in the garden or walk in the park.
- What can you see from your chair or bed? Can it be improved to have a better view of the outdoors?
- Bring something natural into the room to connect with nature. Maybe a plant, a seasonal flower or a picture of a favourite place.
- Encourage nature into your garden by putting a bird-feeder by your window.