Our Impact

Dementia support through a pandemic

Today we have an astonishing 900,000 people in the UK living with some form of dementia, supported by around 700,000 informal or family carers. These numbers are still growing—set to hit 2 million by 2051.

Fiona Petit, CEO

As the only UK top ten cause of death without a cure, enabling people to live well with dementia is the challenge and it is why Dementia Adventure exists.

Even excluding deaths due to Covid-19, twice the number of people with dementia died at the peak of the pandemic than expected1. Starved of connection with the outdoors and their community, dementia symptoms accelerated. In care homes, even emotional connections with family were lost. By 2021, family and friends caring at home – those who keep the UK dementia care system running—were in their second year of being on call 24/7, alone and exhausted.

Dementia Adventure, a charity now in its 13th year, provided support throughout it all. We adapted and continued to enable people with dementia to lead healthier and more active lives: bringing emotional, social and physical benefits to them and their families. Some supported holidays went ahead, with full adherence to Covid safety requirements. We provided virtual training and support to 2,516 people, compared to 2,012 in 2020, while maintaining excellent feedback.

We have run family carer training events since 2016 in response to families who told us they were not being given essential information and skills. The need is no less great today: a recent Government inquiry concluded that “England’s 700,000 unpaid dementia carers too often face a lonely struggle to access care or even a full diagnosis for a loved one.”2 And Carers UK recently found that 61% of unpaid carers feel uncertain about what practical support they may be able to access in the next year3. I know Dementia Adventure will be there.

Fiona Petit, CEO, Dementia Adventure

1 The Alzheimer’s Society: ‘Worst Hit: Dementia During Coronavirus’. 2 Supporting People with Dementia and their Carers, 29 October 2021. 3 Carers UK: State of Caring 2021 Report.

Since we were established in 2009, we have:

Trained 17,384 individuals
Provided 957 places on a supported dementia holiday
Delivered 164 holidays

In 2021, Dementia Adventure achieved amazing things amid a global pandemic. Overall, we:

Trained 2,516 people who support someone living with dementia.
Delivered 24 supported dementia holidays, providing 78 opportunities for someone to get a break.
Directly supported 3,471 people.
Reached over 50,000 people with our message about the importance of engaging with nature when living with dementia.
Enabled our amazing volunteers to donate 3,447 hours, valued at £52,190.

The impact of our supported holidays and breaks

The challenges of dementia can make holidays feel impossible. And yet caring can be exhausting and breaks are essential. Carers’ support has been valued at a staggering £530 million per day during the pandemic, or £193 billion for a full year—outstripping the value of the NHS4.

Dementia Adventure’s alternative to traditional respite care allows families to have a break and enjoy time outdoors together, with our trained staff and volunteers providing essential support.

In a summer of uncertainty, Dementia Adventure safely delivered 24 UK supported adventure breaks, with 78 Covid-safe places. 24 new Outdoor Experiences provided another 69 supported opportunities to enjoy a local day out.

4 Carers UK (2020) Unseen and Undervalued.

Bird of prey display


88% had a break from caring that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
78% felt better able to cope in their caring role
88% felt more positive
78% felt less stressed
97% enjoyed getting outdoors and connecting with nature

"I stopped being my husband’s carer and was his wife for the week."

"[You] made me realise I am limiting him by my own nervousness. I feel more confident to go out and about more often on my own with my husband.”

People living with dementia

100% felt safe on the holiday
100% enjoyed getting outdoors and connecting with nature
88% talked to more people than usual
81% got more exercise than usual
69% had better appetite than usual
56% said their relationship with their companion had improved

"I felt happier, less stressed."

"I have regained confidence in myself regarding what I can achieve.​"

Empowering others – our Training & Consultancy

Our holidays give Dementia Adventure lived experience directly supporting people with dementia. This perspective, and the voices of those living with dementia, is embedded into our unique training offer for friends, family, volunteers, staff and organisations. In total, we trained 2,516 people in 2021.

The move online has significantly increased Dementia Adventure’s reach. Carers attend while performing their caring role and it’s empowering to see siblings in separate countries making joint care decisions in the chatroom. However, in-person delivery brings a closer connection and Dementia Adventure is looking forward to continuing a hybrid approach in the future.

Building confidence in family and friends

Our introductory training session Understanding Dementia Better5 helps carers build positivity and confidence. They receive practical solutions that lead to improved wellbeing.

left with an increased understanding of how to support someone with dementia
would recommend the training
felt better equipped to cope with their situation
were more confident about ways to engage with nature and the outdoors
had previously received minimal or no contact with a support service

The session was amazing! Many forums are really negative and depressing but this session showed there are positive things I can do to keep my husband happy and work with him.

As restrictions eased, people needed confidence to get back outside so we developed new Nature is Calling sessions. And with the pandemic taking its toll, Mood & Motivation covered how to raise mood, build confidence and plan meaningful activities.

One of Dementia Adventure’s priorities is to be more inclusive. We made some progress in 2021:
12% of training attendees were from an ethnic minority, and 10% had a disability.

5 Formerly named ‘Thinking Differently about Dementia’.

Impact Report 2021