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Dementia Friendly Event fit for purpose

Posted: 22nd August 2017

8. AW WalkingA relaxed, informal information afternoon and dementia friendly walk day for people to learn more about services for people living with dementia, is being held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh on Monday, 28 August.

Organised by Edinburgh Leisure’s Ageing Well project, Police Scotland, Fire Scotland, Paths for All, and other third sector agencies, the aim of the event is to showcase the services available across to the city to anyone living or affected by dementia, including carers and family. Various representatives from these organisations will be on hand to discuss exercise options, fire prevention and personal safeguarding.

A free dementia friendly walk, led by a specialist walk leader from Edinburgh Leisure’s Ageing Well scheme and Paths For All, will take place from 1.30pm-2.15pm in the Botanic Gardens, which is free to join, with no sign-up required.

Anyone interested in joining in the walk, including carers, should arrive at the John Hope Gateway (West Gate) from 12.45pm. Light refreshments will be available in the Botanics Cottage after the walk, with the opportunity to discuss with representatives from the third sector agencies about the types of services on offer, in an informal environment.

Audrey McKinven, Ageing Well Project Officer at Edinburgh Leisure said: “Edinburgh Leisure is all about providing opportunities for anyone to get active and stay active, no matter what the individual’s ability. Walking is such an accessible way to improve health and wellbeing but for those living or affected by dementia, it can be a daunting prospect.
“We have a range of Ageing Well Health Walks to suit most people’s needs, from a 30 minute stroll to a moderate 90 minute walk. We also have two dementia friendly walks, with specially trained walk leaders, who understand the needs and requirements of these group of people. Not only is it an easy and cheap way to improve fitness, but it’s a great way to socialise too and to meet like-minded people.”
Ian Findlay, Paths for All Chief Officer said: “We are delighted to be working with Edinburgh Leisure to establish dementia friendly walking groups in the city. We know that there are lots of barriers stopping people living with dementia getting out, enjoying the outdoors, meeting people and keeping active. Joining a led walk is a really good way for people to overcome these and feel the benefits of walking. Spending time outdoors in nature can help to relieve stress, increase self-esteem, produce vitamin D, and exercises the brain, helping with memory and cognitive functioning. Even 10 to 15 minutes of daily walking outdoors can improve the overall wellbeing of people living with dementia.”
An estimated 90,000 people have dementia in Scotland, with around 3,200 of these people under the age of 65.

Edinburgh Leisure has recently been awarded a grant of £189,000 to become dementia friendly. The money, which comes from the Life Changes Trust, will be used to develop health and well-being activities for people affected by dementia across the city.

Edinburgh Leisure will develop a range of physical activities for people living with early onset and mild to moderate dementia and their carers, so that they can become – and remain – physically active.

Edinburgh Leisure’s specialist team will work with dementia communities to offer a free outreach service, providing tailored physical programmes for people living with dementia. These will be held in either Edinburgh Leisure’s own venues, in partner venues or in community settings.

The project, called Movement for Memories, will support people living with dementia and their carers to access physical activities, such as swimming, gym sessions, golf and tennis, as well as attend sessions which are specifically designed to be dementia friendly. These will include group walks, dancing, gardening, and walking football.

Projects like Movement for Memories are part of Edinburgh Leisure’s Active Communities Programme that use the power of physical activity and sport to change and improve the lives of over 5,200 people each year who are affected by health conditions, poverty, inequalities and disabilities.

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