Plan finalised for dementia-friendly sensory trail in Ballarat
Friday 20 September, 2019
As part of Dementia Action Week this week, Parks Victoria today joined with community groups and local primary students to start work on the area surrounding the planned dementia-friendly sensory trail being constructed in Woowookarung Regional Park.
The 1km gentle bush trail will enable people to see, smell, touch and hear nature and will be the first of its kind in Australia.
Wide pathways to allow for wheelchairs and carers, sensory aspects, seating and clear signage will make the path suitable not just for individuals but also for groups from residential aged care facilities and other places. It will offer park visitors with dementia an experience in nature that can be enjoyed in different ways as their journey through dementia progresses.
The trail has been co-designed with significant input from people living with dementia and their carers, Ballarat community health groups, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Dementia Australia.
The landscape plan for the trail has just been finalised. Once other documentation involving biodiversity and cultural heritage are nearing completion, construction is expected to begin in early 2020.
The construction phase will involve working with various community groups to get further input and implement specific elements of the trail.
Plants and materials for the community planting day today were supplied by Bigger Hearts Ballarat, through a grant from Dementia Australia.
The theme for Dementia Action Week 2019 is “Dementia doesn’t discriminate. Do you?”.
For more on the story see the video produced by Dementia Australia.
If you are concerned about yourself or others, or want to find out about available services to support those living with dementia please call the Dementia Australia National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria, Area Chief Ranger, Siobhan Rogan:
“We are thrilled to have the plan for this important co-designed trail finalised.
We know that being active in nature is good for our health, and dementia research also suggests that the right kind of sensory stimulation can reduce anxiety and agitation, and help with the recall of positive memories.”
Quotes attributable to Anne Tudor, Convenor of Bigger Hearts Ballarat:
“It has been a joy to be part of this amazing project and experience how it draws people in and connects them in such a positive way. I have no doubt we are creating something special that current and future families impacted by dementia will value and enjoy.”