ACTIVE travel organisation The Inverclyde Bothy has received charity Paths for All’s dementia-friendly walking accreditation.
The Inverclyde Bothy supports people across the area to walk or cycle more, offers four-weekly group health walks which are open to all and take place in various locations.
To make their programme more inclusive, health walk co-ordinator Jenni Murray liaised with staff at Alzheimer’s Scotland’s Greenock Resource Centre to explore training options and review their routes so that walks have less traffic, few shadows, various points of interest, sensory variety such as a colourful plants and benches for a rest.
Specific training for staff and volunteers to increase their knowledge and skills to support people to live well with dementia included Paths for All’s Dementia-Friendly Walk Leader course; Age Scotland’s Dementia Awareness workshop; and Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Friends session.
A warm and friendly welcome is always given at the start of every health walkto make everybody feel supported. All walk leaders are also easily recognisable with their named red waterproof jackets and polo shirts.
Jenni said: “The Inverclyde Bothy has benefited greatly from being involved in the Paths for All Dementia Friendly accreditation process.
“While health walks are inclusive and open to all, undertaking this development process and the additional dementia-focussed training will ensure that we are better placed to meet the needs of those living with dementia.
“Our staff and volunteer team have gained valuable insight and awareness and grown our network with other organisations.
“As we now move out of lockdown and re-start our walks, we will continue to engage with local organisations who support those living with dementia with the aim of ensuring that more local people are made aware of the walks, the health and wellbeing benefits they bring, and will choose to get involved.”
Currently, health walks are permitted under the organised sport guidance and Scottish Government local protection levels.
A maximum of 15 participants can attend a registered walk with detailed risk assessments carried out and physical distancing maintained.
Frances Bain, Paths for All manager, said: “Walking in a group is a fantastic way for people living with a long-term health condition, such as dementia, to improve their mobility, confidence, and overall wellbeing.”
“I encourage anyone who is feeling isolated and in need of support to join Inverclyde Bothy’s short health walks. They are an ideal way to get out of the house, meet new people, discover your local area and have a regular weekly activity to look forward to.”