The Vibrant Communities Team at East Ayrshire Council have added two Dementia Friendly Walks to their walking programme after consulting with people living with the condition and their carers.
The local consultations identified that people living with dementia want to spend time outdoors in the fresh air exploring their local area. However, walking on their own was undesirable due to safety fears. Led group walks with trained volunteers were an ideal way to offer security and reassurance.
Refreshments at the end of a walk would also make attending more social and worthwhile.
A Health Walk and picnic was held at Dean’s Country Park in Kilmarnock on Monday 17th June to formally launch the new walks which have received Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking accreditation.
Faye Forsyth, Health Development Officer with Vibrant Communities said:
Vibrant Communities are delighted to have received Dementia Friendly accreditation from Paths for All. The year that we have spent working towards our walks becoming Dementia Friendly has been a very rewarding one. We have really enjoyed engaging with our walkers who either have dementia themselves or who care for someone with dementia.
Receiving our Dementia Friendly accreditation for our walks has enabled us to link in with our local Alzheimer’s Scotland organisation to promote walks to people in East Ayrshire who have dementia and we very much look forward to welcoming people along to our walks for many years to come.
Regular walking offers many benefits for people living with dementia, such as:
• Improved sleep
• Reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis
• Improved physical fitness
• Stronger muscles and flexible joints
• Increased self-esteem
• Improved memory, confidence and mood
• Maintenance of independence and functional fitness for longer
Find out more about Vibrant Communities Health Walks on our website.
The Dementia Friendly Walking Project is supported by The Life Changes Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, William Grant Foundation, The Robertson Trust, Spirit of 2012, sportscotland and the Scottish Government.