Dorset encourages older adults to spend time outside
13th December 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Dorset is a county renowned for its natural beauty, from the Purbeck coastline to the Dorset Downs, the countryside and coast have much to offer even the most amateur rambler. This stunning scenery is not necessarily the most accessible and with many people requiring stair lifts for the elderly, it leaves lots of people unable to enjoy this lovely county.
However, recently funding has become available thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, Stepping into Nature and the Dorset Area of Natural Beauty. With grants between £100 and £2000 available, people want to see the countryside more accessible for all with community-led projects, especially geared towards older adults.
Gentle exercise and the vitamin D from being outside is beneficial for a variety of different reasons but especially in older adults as it aids their mobility, improves circulation and even helps with sleep. By encouraging community-led projects, it can help foster long-lasting friendships and reduce loneliness that can be found among older adults.
Julie Hammon, Project Officer for Area of Natural Beauty, told Wessex FM: “We would really like to see new projects which make the natural environment accessible for all, create opportunities to learn new skills and reduce feelings of social isolation and loneliness in local communities.”
They would like to focus the funds on certain areas including Lyme Regis and Dorchester and look into creating not only accessible but also Dementia friendly green spaces around the county. This follows the success of the Living through Landscapes project which has helped transform 30 outdoor spaces around care homes in the UK. The project aims to ‘improve the use of their outside space through a ‘dementia friendly’ consultation and engagement process, landscape changes, and training and support to care settings.’
Following this concept, many outdoor spaces in Dorset could become more comfortable areas that people will feel confident enjoying regardless of mobility limitations or dementia.