The NHS Western Isles managed project received this recognition for working in partnership with local agencies and third sector organisations to involve people living with the long-term condition and their carer’s. Their input has helped to shape the four Dementia Friendly Health Walks now on offer across the Outer Hebrides.
The walks are available in North Bay in Barra, Grimsay in North Uist, Uig in West Lewis and Pairc and Kinloch in the south of Lewis.
To date, 19 Walk Leaders with Walk on Hebrides have attended a half day Dementia Friendly Walking training course provided by Paths for All to ensure anyone living with dementia feels safe and supported on the weekly free short walks available for everyone in the community to also join.
Trained Walk Leader, Lisanne MacInnes who leads the North Bay walk in Barra reported:
The walks are a great way of motivating people to get out as a group and enjoy some fresh air. Those living with dementia enjoy the different scenery and company on our walks.
Walking in a group is a social way to enjoy gentle exercise. For someone with a dementia diagnosis being side by side while walking can feel more comfortable and less daunting than face-to-face group activities. Being outdoors in nature creates easy conversation topics. Walking in local surroundings can support reminiscence activities to help a person remember and share stories from different stages in their life.
Carl Greenwood, Senior Development Officer at Paths for All congratulated Walk on Hebrides for gaining their accreditation. He said:
Our Dementia Friendly Walking accreditation to Walk on Hebrides to support more people to live well with dementia is well deserved. Walking in a group is a perfect way for people to enjoy exercise, company, and fresh air.
The number of people in Scotland currently living with dementia, which has no cure, is around 90,000 and this is expected to increase to approximately, 164,000 in the next 15 years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how important local community services are for supporting people where they live. Dementia Friendly Health Walks can play a role in both preventing dementia through encouraging regular exercise and providing direct support to those living with dementia.
Since 2015 Paths for All have issued 34 Dementia Friendly Walking Project accreditations to projects across Scotland. There are over 135 Dementia Friendly Health Walks taking place across Scotland. Over 700 walk leaders have been trained to support more people with dementia to stay active.
Find out more about Walk on Hebrides online.
Find out more about Dementia Friendly Walking.