Player-supported charity Dementia Adventure has 12 years of experience in supporting people with dementia. It has helped families to access the wellbeing benefits of nature, leading to improvements in sleep, anxiety, appetite and communication. This has helped to slow the decline of dementia and provide an improved sense of resilience and hope.
Lockdown particularly affected people with dementia and their caregivers. Isolated, without their usual support, and being told to stay at home made connection to nature almost impossible. The lack of stimulation led to deterioration of both their dementia and mental health.
Mood And Motivation
As lockdown eases, some people with dementia and their supporters are now finding it difficult to find the motivation to 'get up and do'. Which is why, thanks to the players of People's Postcode Lottery, Dementia Adventure is offering free, online Mood and Motivation sessions.
This training connects individuals with experts and other dementia carers, where they explore how to improve mood, build confidence and consider meaningful nature-based activities on a regular basis.
Jilly, 80, is married to Geoff who has had dementia for four years. Jilly and Geoff have found this past year very challenging because all the support activities they were involved with stopped.
Jilly discovered Dementia Adventure and attended its free Mood and Motivation Dementia Skills Session. She said, "The session starts with support for carers, which normally in all these things, the support for the carers comes last. It was so good! I was in a low mood when this session started. I almost cancelled because I was feeling very sad and fed up with it all. I'm so glad I didn't. They were so welcoming and warm from the beginning. It was lovely to be with others in a similar situation. As they talked about how your mood affects you, I wrote down: 'Take time to raise my own mood in order to raise others'. They had such helpful and simple advice for how to help my own mood, and I really thought about it afterwards and saw how I could help myself."
The sessions inspired them to make more of the nature opportunities on their doorstep. Jilly added, "We've got a dog, we live in the country, we do walks. I'm very lucky. It's never occurred to me how important our surroundings are right now. Being outside, particularly when the seasons change, really does make you feel better. Sometimes Geoff can forget where we've been, but I don't think the feeling of being there and enjoying it goes."
Jilly feels she's been better at managing her mood, and said, "I think I realised that I had lots of negative feelings. It's very easy for me to only see all those negative things about my life, the dementia and the frustrations for Geoff who is very bright. I think now I can turn that around."
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