Dementia farm project starts

New dementia project hopes to help the farming community in the borders.
New dementia project hopes to help the farming community in the borders.

People living with dementia in Dumfries and Galloway will reap the benefit from a new project that helps them connect with the outdoors.

Using agricultural and farming activities to get the project up and running, a funding award of £14,800 has been made by the Life Changes Trust.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway will develop and deliver a two year project in the Stewartry area, working with the farming community and other organisations to build a programme of activities for people with dementia who are from a farming background, or who are interested in in learning something new and getting outdoors.

Ten per cent of Scotland’s national agriculture workforce are located in Dumfries and Galloway. For them, farming is a life of being outdoors. But when someone needs care or has to stop their farming activities because of dementia, they can also lose touch with being outside in the environment which is a key part of their identity and their memories.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway will work with the farming community and a partnership of organisations including care homes, public and third sector organisations, to build a programme of activities that will support people to visit farms, attend marts and agricultural shows – a key event in the farming calendar – get close to farm machinery, and connect, or reconnect, with farming life.

Everyone who participates will have the opportunity to develop their own personal memory resource, so that memories and experiences can be revisited and shared with family and carers.

Stella Milsom, Stewartry Health and Wellbeing Project Co-ordinator, who is leading the project, said: “We are very proud to be one of the areas to receive a grant from the Life Changes Trust to enable this innovative work to take place in Dumfries and Galloway. Working with members of the Retired Farming Social Group, we are developing a programme of outings and collecting resources that stimulate reminiscence.”