Getting out into the fresh air is great for mind, body and soul. Not only is it is beneficial in improving our concentration and memory, but research has shown that as little as 10 minutes outside can significantly improve the health of those living with dementia. Additionally, getting outside is a great way of sourcing Vitamin D which is vital for building strong bones and muscles.
Birdwatching can be a great way to connect with family and friends, and can help create a close bond with those living with dementia. If you’re planning a birdwatch yourself or for a loved one, why not extend an invite to a relative or nearby friend to see if they’d like to join in the fun? This family friendly activity can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities, and the common topic can be a great talking point – not only can you discuss what you see in your garden, but you can also compare notes with others who are taking part.
Recent studies suggest that spending time around nature can be a great way to combat stress and relax. Birdwatching can be a very meditative activity, and often provides those taking part with the opportunity to spend a time in a quiet place without any distractions.
Additionally, for those living with dementia, getting out and experiencing the nature around them has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
For those living with dementia, activities that involve visual aids can often help recall memories, particularly if this is something they frequently did when they were younger.
Additionally, repetition can often be reassuring to someone with cognitive impairment. The process of looking for birds, and identifying the species over a period of time can be calming for those living with dementia.
For older people with limited mobility, it’s often easy to fall into the habit of remaining comfortable within your own home. Although birdwatching can be enjoyed from inside the house, it’s also a great opportunity to get out and about – even a short trip to a nearby park or nature reserve will provide a change of scenery and help keep those living with dementia more alert.
Spending time in nature can have some incredibly positive effects on our mental health, but the different sights, colours, smells and sounds found outside can all help occupy the mind, and help provide a fantastic distraction for those living with dementia.
Getting outdoors and hearing birdsong, for example, can also help people recall memories from younger years, and connecting with nature can be an invaluable reminiscence activity.
Not only does birdwatching encourage people to get out into their local community and explore the nearby parks and woodlands, but it can have physical benefits even if you’re just venturing out into your garden. Taking a walk around the lawn, or going out to replace the bird feeders can all provide regular activity to help keep older people healthy, and keeping active can help slow the progression of dementia symptoms.