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How woodlands and forests enhance mental well-being

Woods and forests can enhance the psychological well-being with early stage dementia. In this article, the author reports on initial findings from a pilot programme of activities based in an urban woodland setting for people with early stage dementia. Activities included woodland walks, tree planting, nature photography, fire lighting and woodland cookery. Data were collected through observing the activities and interviewing the people with dementia, carers and staff at the end of the 10-week programme. The findings are briefly reported under the themes of: mental well-being, meaning and identity, nature connections, and social development. The findings illustrate the benefits that can be gained from taking part in woodland activities, for both people with dementia and their carers. The research aims to inform forestry management approaches that are key to achieving Forestry Commission Scotland's and the Scottish Government agenda of improved mental well-being and social inclusion.

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Journal of Dementia Care
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