This is a guest post by Caroline Clipson, who coordinates the Southwark Dementia Action Alliance. She teamed up with TfL, Walk London and Cool Tan Arts to create this sensory walk in Southwark Park for people affected by dementia.
Sensory walks are a great form of gentle exercise and getting outdoors is hugely important for people with dementia. We want to help friends and families explore new ways of engaging with loved ones by sharing their love of nature. This means enjoying the smells, sounds, textures and exceptional autumn colours of our local park.
“I work on a local gardening and reminiscence project, so I see how important it is that elderly people continue to connect with nature.”
Caroline Clipson, Southwark Dementia Action Alliance
Southwark Park opened in 1869, it was the first urban park in London. While this is interesting, we don’t dig much deeper into historical facts during our sensory walk. Instead, we rely on the flora and fauna to tell the story of this stunning park.
There are a huge variety of trees, gardens and unique features all within a gentle stroll of each other. Therefore, the park is well known by locals as it often holds special memories for people.
We want all parks across London to be accessible for people with dementia, so that means we need their staff to understand and support people with the condition to feel welcome. So that’s why we’re asking parks and other organisations to become Dementia Friends today.
By supporting people living with dementia to get outdoors and enjoy walking, we can all help people with the condition, and their carers, live well.