Here at OPENspace, we’re delighted to see the publication of the latest Natural England report, Is it nice outside? New research into dementia and the natural environment.
The result of a collaborative project with Dementia Adventure, the Mental Health Foundation and Innovations in Dementia, the report reflects the views of 54 people living with dementia and over 170 carers.
Having explored older people’s attitudes towards getting out and about in a number of recent projects (including Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors), we see many of the same thoughts and needs articulated by people with dementia in the report, including…
- their drive to be physically and socially active outdoors;
- the importance, to them, of informal walking outside;
- their appreciation and need for a quality environment – one with accessible signage, walkways on even ground, and facilities such as toilets, cafes and places to sit and relax.
We are pleased to see that the report bears out the popularity of city parks and public gardens and that “several people with dementia talked passionately about the role their local park played in providing them with somewhere to go, and as somewhere to enjoy watching other people taking part in activities”.
OPENspace and Natural England
As a member of the Outdoors for All Strategic Research Group, Catharine Ward Thompson commented on the new report prior to publication.
OPENspace and Natural England have worked together many times over the years, most recently on a project looking at the importance of ‘wild adventure space’ for young people.
The launch of Is it Nice Outside? comes in the same week that we announce funding for the second phase of Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods, our knowledge exchange programme with dementia researchers at the University of Stirling.
Funded by the Scottish Universities Insights Institute, this project explores how local communities can support people with dementia, meeting the urgent need for insights to guide the development of environments for ageing-in-place and lifelong social inclusion.