Sensory Trust has a passion to use nature to support the health and wellbeing of people of all ages living with a disability or long-term illness. In 2016 we collaborated with Ruth Garside at ECEHH on a systematic review of older people’s sensory experiences of nature. This led to the development of a training toolkit ‘My Nature’ with the EST. My Nature uses the evidence from the previous review alongside nature-inspired approaches to help care home managers and staff see their outside spaces as part of the care they provide.
Together we’ve taken My Nature to a variety of professional gatherings. We took part in the ESRC Social Science Festival Little Stories of Wellbeing and Nature: a workshop for people supporting those living with dementia. We also presented at conferences such as the Devon Care Kitemark Jamboree for care homes and the 2017 International UK Dementia Congress.
Have there been challenges? Yes, but not within our relationship. Our challenge has always been getting healthcare professionals to see the importance of nature in our lives. Not with those who already ‘buy-in’ to the benefits but those who see it as less of a priority than medical support. EST and Sensory Trust work together to approach these issues from often creative angles.
Sadly we haven’t had much opportunity to work together this year, we’ve all been a little busy with our own projects, but that doesn’t mean we’re not keeping our eyes peeled and our ears to the ground for further opportunities…as long as there’s cake of course.
If I was to sum up working with the EST in three words, I’d say they are engaging, stimulating and thorough (see what I did there!)
Brewin, W. & Orr, N. (November 2017) My Nature: a training toolkit enhancing residential living. UK Dementia Congress, Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster, UK.
Brewin, W. & Orr, N.(December 2018) My Nature: Top tips for happy staff, happy residents and happy homes. Devon Care Kite Mark Jamboree.
Orr, N., Wagstaffe, A., Briscoe, S. et al. How do older people describe their sensory experiences of the natural world? A systematic review of the qualitative evidence. BMC Geriatr 16, 116 (2016) doi:10.1186/s12877-016-0288-0