Being outside adds to everyone’s quality of life, not least those with dementia

For those who are working with existing care homes or hospital buildings, providing an outside area with sunshine and fresh air will go a long way in ensuring the wellbeing of residents.

TOR 3D FlatIt can be easy to achieve a lot with a little expense.  For example, providing good outdoor seating, planters with colourful and seasonal plants, good signage (if required) that leads people to and around the outdoor spaces and perhaps some items of particular relevance to the residents will all help to enrich your ‘room outside’.

It’s worth noting that good design for older people and those with dementia also works for everyone, as many of us are impaired by the environments we live in.

Being outside adds to everyone’s quality of life, not least those with dementia.  In the longer term, it may also reduce the need for drug treatment, create happier staff and reduce staff turnover, all of which can save money.

Want to know more?

The Room Outside was developed by authors Annie Pollock and Colm Cunningham with the outcomes to:

  • encourage the creation of outdoor spaces in care settings
  • provide a better understanding about what makes outdoor spaces meaningful for people living with dementia
  • spur on those who have created suitable outdoor spaces for older people and people with dementia and encourage them to share positive outcomes.

A word from the co-author, Annie Pollock

annie pollock v2It's with great joy that I look down at my printed copy of The Room Outside, which was launched last month in Birmingham and Edinburgh. There were many fascinating conversations with attendees at both UK launch events – so my process of sharing knowledge and learning has continued.

Writing this book and collating suitable illustrations was a hard gestation period – as with all books! However the end result is really worth it, with thanks too, to a dedicated team in Australia!

In our often unwelcoming climate in the U.K – today is grey and tipping down with rain – the importance of the outdoor environment on our health and wellbeing can never be in doubt. It's important to take regular breaks to look out of the window, to see things like raindrops hanging on the budding branches of the birch tree outside, and hear the noise of the rain sounding like a gentle drum roll.

Gardening can have such a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Physical activity, mental workout – both shake off lethargy and get oxygen flowing round our bodies. For older people this is really essential to maintain health for as long as possible and, as mentioned in the book, exercise improves one’s cognition too. Many of those at the launches were active in work for people with dementia – and I hope that this will enable them to spread the word and to create more enabling designs. Whilst the book is a guide to designing outdoor living for older people and those with dementia, it is really a guide for us all.

The Room Outside is available now on the HammondCare website. To purchase the book, please click here and order your copy today. Enter ROOMOUTSIDE at checkout to receive 10% off the normal price.