Top tips for connecting to nature and the outdoors

Lady smelling yellow flowers
blue tit on a birdtable

If you live with dementia, or support someone who does, take the time to do something simple every day. Here's a few ideas:

Have a cuppa or a snack in the garden and use your senses. Think about what you can see, smell, or hear.

Grow plants that are well known, check and care for them regularly and observe the changes through the season. You could plant runner beans, tomatoes, pumpkin, sunflowers, or sweet peas.

Care for an outside space. Do some gentle tasks, e.g. dead-heading flowers in a tub, picking flowers for a vase, sorting seeds, planting up containers, or hand-watering with small bottles.

Encourage nature into your garden. Install a bird feeder and fill it with a small amount of food every day or set up a water bath.

Put seating in sunny, sheltered places to create warmer sitting spots. This way you can extend time spent outdoors into the cooler months.

Read the paper or a book in an outside space and enjoy the feel of the sun on your skin.

Take a phone call with friends or family members outside and chat about what you can see.

Ask a family member or friends to take you out.

While out walking, pick up nature objects for discussion later. Items like conkers and pine cones create great topics of conversation and often evoke memories and feelings of different times in our lives.

Have a go at identifying bird song, plants or butterflies. Download an app on your phone or tablet.

Try stargazing by using an app or book to help you recognise different stars, or simply enjoy looking at the night sky.

If you live with dementia, or support someone who does, take the time to do something simple every day. Here's a few ideas:

Go on a litter picking walk.

Make an animal habitat, e.g. bird box, hedgehog house or bug hotel.

Have a go at upcycling. Reuse containers you would typically throw away and create a bird feeder or planter.

Grow your own forest. Collect seeds such as conkers or acorns and grow them in pots. The saplings make great gifts for your family and friends to plant.

bug hotel
wild flowers in a vase

What if I cannot get outside?

Ask someone to bring nature indoors for you, by bringing a seasonal plant or flowers.

Create a photo book full of your favourite places.

Stand by a window and chat with a family member or friend about what you can see outside.

Improve the view! What can you see from your chair or bed? Can you move them so you have a view from the window?

Look at some magazines that interest you e.g gardening, bird watching, angling, farming.

Listen to the sounds of nature on the BBC Sounds app.

Watch a nature programme on television.