We established the walks 5 years ago to help to support isolated older people living with dementia, and since that time we have expanded the walks to include those who would benefit all older people who would benefit. We have also established partnerships with a number of care homes to involve their residents in the walks
The walks take place fortnightly, and for some people it can be their first excursion outside a residential home for many years. The walks are organised by our Time Broker, and supported by volunteers.
We build relationships with older people living in care homes who are particularly isolated, and have a wider impact on how the care homes see the residents. For example, two care homes brought residents to participate in accessible walks for the first time and are now changing the way they integrate family and friends into care home life and are changing their understanding of their residents.
The walks help to ensure that older people remain connected to their local community, and visible in the wider community. We know from talking to older people that this is one of their biggest worries – the loss or relationships with family and friends (particularly those who are in care homes, or in poor health). They feel that they are excluded socially, or have little value or recognition in the local community – this project addresses this, whilst improving health and wellbeing. Care home staff have said that residents mood is lifted after the walks
People have said about the walks :
’ just letting people small the trees, feel the rain, go and watch the ducks quacking, everyone comes back glowing and telling you of so many things they had seen. Conversations would just strike up ‘
One lady, with dementia commented ‘ I’ve had such a lovely morning with friends’