Residents at Erskine Care Home work to construct bird boxes for their outdoor space
An update from Froglife
“Oh I don’t think I can do that…” G said this at the start of the session but it changed to “I’ll have another go!” when encouraged to try just once and then ‘rotating’ people in to cut the wood when making bird boxes to ensure no one got too tired.
Our Glasgow Green Pathways For Life project has worked hard to deliver 65 practical and educational wildlife oriented sessions to people living with dementia throughout Glasgow.
We have planned another 10 sessions to the end of 2019 and will begin booking in new sessions for 2020 with additional groups in December 2019. We have worked with a total of 12 different organisations to deliver sessions, 6 being green space management organisations (that we worked with to bring participants outdoors to explore their local greenspaces), 2 care homes and one housing association with a strong older person’s service.
Throughout the project we made improvements to a total of 10 local green spaces (including the outdoor spaces at the care homes we worked with and a local allotments site in which we situated several bird boxes that the participants created).
“I’ve really enjoyed being outside.” M, Bridgeton Day Opportunities Group.
“I enjoyed looking at the plants.” M. A., Bridgeton Day Opportunities Group visiting Bellahousten Allotments.
Sessions have included activities such as pond dipping (a big hit throughout the summer and thoroughly enjoyed each time we checked on the progress of the tadpoles in one of our more frequented sites), bird box creation, toad home decoration, butterfly surveys, wildlife gardening, nature walks (to improve participants’ health, encourage more confident access and enjoyment of the outdoors and to explore the wildlife in greenspaces) and creating a minipond at a care home.
Residents at Erskine Care Home worked to construct bird boxes for their outdoor space (pictured above). From sawing to painting to placement, the residents were involved in every step and the boxes are up and ready for birds to nest in Spring 2020 in the Erskine garden courtyard.
We have worked with a total of 138 people during the project so far, of which 82 people were living with dementia from care homes and the community and 24 of whom were children from a local after school care group and one nursery as intergenerational sessions. The sessions which included children were found to be very popular, with participants asking when they’d be coming back and simply enjoying conversing with younger children while participating in activities.
“It’s great having the kids here, they’re such a great group! John’s such a good dancer!” Cathy, QCHA group.
Throughout the project we have ensured a high level of choice for participants from the activities we deliver and participate in together, to the local green spaces we visit and the frequency of sessions. For example if participants decide the weather is too poor to go outdoors to a local community garden for pond dipping or tree ID that day, we bring activities in to their centre/organisation instead by bringing wood and equipment to make bird boxes.
This way of organising sessions ensures a high amount of flexibility for participants and they can decide to a certain extent what activities we do and where we do them. Due to the nature of the project it’s fairly rare to receive feedback from participant’s families or carers but it’s incredibly valuable to us to collect this if it’s offered and can give real insight into how the project is making a difference for people living with dementia.
One care home resident we worked with was very interested in wildlife, especially birds. When his wife visited during one of our sessions, he spoke about how we’d worked to create and paint bird boxes for the outside space, while we were doing indoor wildlife themed arts and crafts activities, She was extremely positive about our sessions at the care home and said, I’ve not seem him as alert all morning in a long time……..I think he’s really enjoyed it……He was always interested in birds.
”We are incredibly grateful to the Hospital Saturday Fund for their support of the Green Pathways For Life project in Glasgow. The support has allowed us to deliver sessions directly to people living with dementia in the city who may not otherwise have the opportunity to do such activities.
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