This study investigates the meaning and use of urban woodlands and forests, and how they can contribute to positive mental well-being of people with dementia, by adopting ethnographic, participatory action research and case study approaches. Qualitative research provided knowledge and understanding about how activities in an urban woodland environment can add value to and benefit the lives of people with dementia living independently. Data were collected from semi-structured, and walk-along interviews, as well as from piloting a programme of activities based in an urban woodland setting. Five male participants with dementia, aged between 52 and 83, and one family carer, took part in the pilot programme, based in Scotland (UK). The findings show how through active use of urban woodlands and forests, people with dementia find their experiences to be meaningful. People with dementia found meaning in the multi-sensory experience of the woodland, in their feeling of self-worth, and in their ability to retain a sense of autonomy and identity. The approach to active use of urban woodlands and forests offers a viable alternative to traditional residential and day care activities, as well as an opportunity to promote the quality of life of people with dementia living in their own homes.
- mental well-being