March 13 2019
A resident at Weald Heights has seen her wish come true with a trip to a local golf course to tee off at the first hole.
February 7 2018
According to a study by Natural England, Dementia Adventure, the Mental Health Foundation and Innovations in Dementia, wildlife and bird watching is one of the most popular activities for people living with dementia – and 25 per cent of the people interviewed said they took part several times a week or every day.
Seeing our feathered friends, even from a conservatory, has a positive effect on wellbeing and mental health according to a fascinating piece of research carried out in 2017 by the University of Exeter, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland, Australia.
The researchers found that being able to see birds can lower the risk of anxiety, stress and depression, all of which can affect people living with dementia.
Interestingly, the data showed that there was a link between the number of birds spotted in the afternoon and increased happiness. This may be an excellent excuse to spend time making fat balls with your loved one and planning a garden with plants and feeders that attract more birds to the garden.
And the good news is that being able to hear birdsong and bird calls can boost the effect. A University of Surrey study from 2013 found birdsong is the type of natural sound most commonly associated with perceived stress recovery and attention restoration that support those living with dementia.
Bird watching has other advantages too. Lifting binoculars helps keep arm muscles toned. Finding and tracking birds with binoculars challenges eye-hand coordination, while looking up birds and identifying them can be a challenge to the brain: just try telling a tree sparrow from a house sparrow.
One of the best and most rewarding ways to watch birds is in the open air. A study produced by the Wildlife Trusts and the University of Essex found a number of benefits to being out amid nature, including improvements to physical health through increased activity, improvements in wellbeing such as reductions in stress and anxiety, and increased positive mood, self-esteem and resilience. By taking part in group activities such as organised walks there were also improvements in social functioning and in social inclusion.
According to the Natural England study, the top barriers to taking part in outdoor activities and having contact with nature were a lack of confidence and safety concerns, as well as having no transport, or a lack of information about the suitability of places for visitors with dementia.
How to make the most of nature
March 11 2019
Pear Tree Court treated the local community to a magical day to mark the home’s first birthday.