Living through Landscapes was a pioneering project to support people with dementia by transforming outdoor spaces at 30 care homes across the UK. The project was led by national charity Learning through Landscapes and was made possible thanks to a £1.3 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

photo-1454875392665-2ac2c85e8d3e According to the Alzheimer’s Society:

  • there are around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia
  • one third of them live in a care home
  • one in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia are women
  • 80 per cent of people living in care homes have a form of dementia or severe memory problems

The number of people with dementia is likely to increase year on year in line with increasing life expectancy and population ageing.

This demographic change brings both challenges and opportunities for governments and medical professions but also for wider society. In response to these population and medical projections, the World Health Organisation (WHO) developed the Age Friendly Cities initiative, which endorses the provision of safe green outside spaces in order to promote active, healthy ageing.

However, many barriers persist in delivering changes to community amenities and outside spaces, which result from the lack of awareness of their benefits for older people and people living with dementia, and lack of support to enhance their use especially in residential or day care settings.

dem4Despite the fact that most dementia care settings have an outside space, our initial consultations suggest that they are used rarely if at all, many service providers feel they are unsafe and many lack confidence and feel they lack the resources to encourage better use of their space.

The Living through Landscapes project aimed to support settings to improve the use of their outside space through a ‘dementia friendly’ consultation and engagement process, landscape changes, and training and support to care settings.

Thirty settings were directly funded throughout the three years of the project, but the resources developed including podcast or online versions of training, and the garden designs, remain available to any other setting who would like to take steps to improve the use of their own outside space.

Click the following link to view the project outcomes.