In late January, the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) delivered a webinar as part of a regular Research Seminar series organised by the College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Worcester. This series provides an opportunity for researchers within the university to share their work with their peers in an informal setting.
The webinar was chaired by Professor Dawn Brooker who welcomed everyone and provided an introduction to ADS, before handing over to Dr Simon Evans for the first presentation looking at ‘Connections with nature for people living with dementia’.
Simon talked about our need as humans to interact with nature, and provided an overview of existing evidence of the benefits of nature on our psychological, physical and social wellbeing. In terms of people living with dementia, it has been shown that engaging with nature can reduce agitation, increase self-esteem, and increase social interaction and communication. It may also act as memory trigger for activities, but unfortunately many people living with dementia have limited opportunities to engage with the natural world. Health and safety concerns and an inability to access outdoor spaces are just two potential barriers they may face.
As academic sponsor, UK Dementia Congress is a big deal for the Association for Dementia Studies, but obviously with the current situation getting large numbers of people together in a conference was not going to happen. The conference therefore moved online and was held virtually from 10th to 12th November. Congratulations to the Journal of Dementia Care for organising it all and getting it up and running. This blog provides an overview of the various presentations ADS was part of, but also reflects on some of the differences between a virtual and face-to-face conference.
During lockdown we, like many others, have gained a new appreciation for the importance of being able to get out and about and engage with nature from both a leisure and exercise perspective, and the role nature has on our physical and mental health. However, this is something we’ve been interested in for a while at ADS, particularly in terms of opportunities for people with dementia to get outside or connect with nature in some way. To this end, this blog brings together a few of our previous projects in one place and summarises some of their key findings.
The photos used within this blog are not from specific projects but hopefully they will make you smile and give you a dose of nature for today.
We often have a tendency to be so busy that we never take a step back and take stock of what we’re actually doing, so here’s a quick update summary of the various projects, education, consultancy and other work we’ve currently got on the go. (Apologies to colleagues if I’ve missed anything out!)
In no particular order…
SCI-Dem(research project) – it’s well under way and making good progress in terms of its realist review. The first search has been done and articles are currently being reviewed and included/excluded as appropriate. The SCI-Dem blog is also up and running, providing regular project progress updates.
We’re often asked (ok never, but go with it!) what our research involves, so we thought we’d use this blog to give you a bit of an insight into the sort of research activities we’ve been doing over the past few months.
A lot of research involves reading, especially if you’re doing a literature review or realist review (see this SCI-Dem blog post to find out more about what this is).