“It Is Part of Belonging”: Walking Groups to Promote Social Health amongst People Living with Dementia

This article in Cogitatio thematic journal, Home, Housing and Communities: Foundations for Inclusive Society, by the University of Stirling, shows that people with dementia often report experiencing a ‘shrinking world’ connected with reduced opportunities to access physical and social spaces. The article considers how inclusive walking groups can facilitate access to places and spaces to support people with dementia to remain connected in their communities.

Findings are reported from walking interviews and focus group discussions with people with dementia, family carers, volunteers and walk leaders who participated in a national programme of dementia-friendly walking groups in Scotland. The analysis of the data showed that participation had a positive impact on social health, supporting people living with dementia to fulfil their potential, to engage in meaningful activity and to manage both their condition and their wider lives. Benefits include providing a context for continuing social participation and relationships for people with dementia and family carers.