News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Woodland activity programme for people with early stage dementia

Green prescriptions by doctors and other health professionals could be a valuable way of helping older people reap the benefits of outdoor recreation and remain active.

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The idea is among a number of recommendations contained in a new report commissioned by the Scottish Government to examine the barriers older people face getting out and about.

As part of this we supported a woodland activity programme for people with early stage dementia in partnership with Community Rangers in Scottish Lowlands Forest District and Edinburgh Lothian Greenspace Trust.

Kevin Lafferty, Access, health and recreation manager for Forestry Commission Scotland, said: "The forest and the woodlands are a great library, they're a natural resource and they trigger memories and positive past experiences.

“They also give people the opportunity to socialise and re-connect with other people so it's a great setting for treatment and recovery and also an opportunity to take things away from a clinical or medical setting.

“Our 12 week programme offered people the chance to take part in an innovative, exciting and fun programme of woodland activities which included woodland walks and scavenger hunts; woodland maintenance and bird box making; bush craft shelter building and woodland cooking ; and tree and bird identification.”

The programme was held in Callander Woods in Falkirk and in Hermitage of Braid in Edinburgh. 

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