This month we would like to share Val’s story. Val is a regular member of one of Sensory Trust’s walking groups attending weekly with her husband George.
Val and George moved down to Cornwall not long before he was diagnosed with dementia. They hadn’t had the chance to make any social connections until they joined the Happy Wanderers walking group. It was important for Val that George walked with others in the group;
“He misses the company of other men and even though he might not be making conversation, he is listening and engaging with them in his own way”
The walking groups have shown Val that both she and George can be supported in ways that are relevant to them both as individuals. “The walking group has expanded our horizons, on our own we would walk on warm sunny days but the group walks throughout the year, we repeat walks in different seasons and weather conditions this has made us more connected to nature and the different feelings that a place can offer. When George needed more help I stopped work and we found ourselves together every day. The walking group has been a tremendous help to me, not only getting out for a walk but meeting people in a similar situation who understand. It is good to chat and find out about peoples lives, we also exchange practical information. For me the most important aspect is the support that I receive from the group and the volunteers along with the offer of a hug if it is needed.”
Val has spoken to other dementia support groups, sharing her new knowledge and experience with others and demonstrating how support for dementia carers doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a carer-specific group but can be amongst new-found friends sharing an activity in a sensory-rich environment.
Sensory Trust are launching a new carers support project using nature and the outdoors to support dementia carers.
Top photo: Val 2nd from left and George 3rd from left