Paths for All are the champion of everyday walking in Scotland and have launched a project to make Kings Park in Stirling Scotland’s first dementia friendly park.
There is a need to develop dementia friendly places to walk and enjoy the outdoors. Being active has many health and wellbeing benefits for people living with dementia including reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Physical activity can also improve mental health, cognitive ability and help to regulate sleep patterns. In addition, physical activity can improve muscle strength and joint flexibility, which can reduce the risk of falls (Alzheimer’s Society).
People living with dementia and their carers want to access green space and recognise the benefits of this but will only do so ‘if they are welcomed and encouraged’ (Local Government Association, 2012). Paths for All’s own consultation with people living with dementia and their carers highlighted that they believed walking was beneficial for health and wellbeing and that being in the outdoors was a positive thing allowing an opportunity ‘to get fresh air in your lungs’ and an opportunity for social interaction.