Forests as places of mental well-being for people with dementia

The Forestry Commission Scotland has recently published this 12-page Research Note based on a PhD research study currently being carried out by Mandy Cook, Forest Ranger and PhD student at the University of Dundee. Mandy is co-supervised by SDHI members Ed Hall and Thilo Kroll and is currently evaluating the benefits of a Woodland Activity Programme that has been designed and organised collaboratively between the Forestry Commission Scotland, University of Dundee and Alzheimer Scotland.

FCRN019To read Mandy’s findings please click here

Woodland Activity Programme or People with Early-Stage Dementia

Mandy Cook, Forest Ranger and PhD student in Dundee who is co-supervised by SDHI team members Ed Hall and Thilo Kroll is currently evaluating the benefits of a Woodland Activity Programme that has been designed and organised collaboratively between the Forestry Commission Scotland, the University of Dundee and Alzheimer Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland is inviting families and friends of people with early-stage dementia to get signed up to an innovative, exciting and fun programme of woodland activities.

The programme includes many different woodland based activities, such as woodland walks, scavenger hunts, bulb and tree planting, bushcraft activities, environmental art and learning about tree and bird identification.

Two programmes are being run, one in South Lanarkshire and the other in Falkirk.

Julie Hamilton, Social Programme Manager, Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

“The Woodland activity programme includes lots of fun activities to help people with early-stage dementia

“All equipment will be provided, including waterproofs and participants will also be given a pair of welly boots that they can keep at the end of the programme to encourage them to continue taking to the outdoors to enjoy nature.

“A member of the family, friend or carer is also welcome to take part in the activities with participants.”

The ten week programme will include a small group of up to 12 participants. The dates, time and South Lanarkshire venue will be confirmed in due course. The Falkirk programme is in Callendar Wood starting on Thursday 28 August from 11am to 2pm.

For more information on the South Lanarkshire programme, please contact the South Lanarkshire Ranger Service: 01355 276 784 / abi.boyd@southlanarkshire.gsx.gov.uk

For the Falkirk programme contact Gordon Harper, Forestry Commission Scotland ranger 07798 668 125 or scottishlowlands@forestry.gsi.gov.uk ”

(Source: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf/WebNewsReleases/42AD4BC0F6C4970E80257D3C004471AF)

Mandy’s work and preliminary findings have recently been highlighted in a research brief soon to be issued by the Forestry Commission Scotland.

SDHI hosted Round Table Discussion on ‘Craft, digital media, memories and dementia’

SDHI hosted a research round table on Monday, 16th February with visitors, Professor Cathy Treadaway,at the Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Dr Gail Kenning, artist, researcher and educator at the Centre for Research in Learning and Change at the University of Technology in Sydney and visiting researcher to the University of Technology in Eindhoven.

Prof Cathy Treadaway, CARIAD Cardiff Metropolitan University; Dr Wendy Moncur, DJCAD University of Dundee and Dr Gail Kenning, UTS Sydney

Prof Cathy Treadaway, CARIAD Cardiff Metropolitan University; Dr Wendy Moncur, DJCAD University of Dundee and Dr Gail Kenning, UTS Sydney

Cathy and Gail spoke about a newly AHRC funded research project that focuses on the use of craft and digital media with people with advanced stages of dementia to enhance wellbeing and social connectivity. Their collaborative work is not only supported by academics but also by Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Positives charities, and involves a number of professionals in health, social care, technology as well as people with dementia at its heart. The discussion revolved around a number of key themes, the distinction between recreational use of art and craft (social model) and therapeutic intent (medical model); the perceived benefits of craft and art engagement in terms of social, cognitive and emotional connectedness, the distinction between the process of art and craft engagement and its product (its object), the role of aesthetics in addition to function, and the critical difference between a focus on effectiveness and meaningfulness. ‘Craft making’ as a communicative process was also viewed in terms of its innovative potential as a research method. In the discussion participated several SDHI affiliated researchers with arts therapy, psychology and public health backgrounds. The round table was further testimony of the growing activities between SDHI and the University of Dundee and the University of Technology, Sydney in the area of health and wellbeing.