The impact of early dementia on outdoor life: A `shrinking world'?

Duggan, Sandra; Blackman, Tim; Martyr, Anthony and Van Schaik, Paul (2008). The impact of early dementia on outdoor life: A `shrinking world'? Dementia, 7(2) pp. 191–204.



This article reports the voices of 22 people with early to moderate dementia and their carers about the use of the outdoor environment. Analysis of semi-structured interviews demonstrates that people with early dementia value the outdoor environment for reasons such as exercise, fresh air, emotional well-being, the opportunity for informal encounters with neighbours and friends and the appreciation of the countryside. Conversely, not being able to go out was associated with feelings of depression. Carers reported that the impact of dementia was to decrease the frequency of outdoor activity and to limit the areas visited to those that were the most familiar. Maintaining outdoor activity is likely to be an effective measure in extending the period of good quality living and might decrease the period when intensive services are required. It should therefore be considered in planning for both residential care and community living in the future.

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