AN outdoor activity group has given people with dementia and their carers a breath of fresh air.

Gina Lewis, former mayor of Winsford, who now serves as a Cheshire West and Chester councillor is a carer to her husband Denis who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years ago.

The condition has caused his behaviour, memory and capability to change substantially.

A dementia-friendly outdoor activity group, run by Age UK Cheshire as part of the Bright Memories project, has given them both a chance to explore the countryside and make new friends.

Gina said: “It’s difficult to know where you can go for help and what sort of support is available locally. Luckily, I was introduced to Jackie Brown, a social prescriber with Brightlife who links people to community-based support services.

"She helped me immensely with learning about Denis’ condition and how best to support him. It was Jackie who first told me about the service Bright Memories offer."

The couple enjoyed spending time with alpacas Rio and Jackson on a recent walk in Great Budworth. These quirky creatures from South America are very sensitive and intuitive and often used as therapy animals.

Gina added: "Part of Denis’ Alzheimer’s manifests itself in the need he feels to walk around a lot. Before his diagnosis he always enjoyed walking but now, this tendency has been exaggerated and he needs to and enjoys walking and moving around even more. "Denis is still an ordinary person, he likes to be active, so the Bright Memories outdoor walking group was perfect fit for him.”

Kate Bibby, outdoor activities coordinator at Age UK Cheshire said: "The Bright Memories dementia-friendly outdoor group is free to attend. We often walk together along the Whitegate Way in Winsford or along a route in Handbridge in Chester.

"We assess what people can do on the day, tailoring a suitable walk that suits everyone.”

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Bright Memories is a Brightlife funded project which focuses on providing support services for people living with dementia and their carers Winsford and Chester.

These services include a popular outdoor activity group.