A new initiative will see healthcare workers connect people living with dementia with community activities around Ballarat in an effort to improve their health and wellbeing.
The Green Scripts project, an initiative of the Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance in Ballarat, aims to connect people with established and emerging dementia-inclusive activities across the region.
Through a practice known as 'social prescribing', a free online resource will be promoted to primary healthcare practitioners to illustrate the health benefits of spending time in nature for people living with dementia, along with their carers.
The project will involve promotion of the Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail, located in the Woowookarung Regional Park, and how visiting it can address physical, mental and social needs.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) reports that 70 per cent of GPs believe referring patients to community activities, groups or services helps to improve health outcomes.
"The physical, social, and psychological benefit derived from Green Scripts has been widely known for a very long time."Anne Tudor
The information has led the body to recommend social prescribing to be incorporated into routine healthcare in Australia.
Members of the alliance, including founding member Anne Tudor and Green Scripts project leads, Caroline Gibson and Dr Mark Yates, joined Buninyong MP, Michaela Settle, to launch the project on Thursday.
Ms Tudor said seeing the project come to life was "very exciting" as establishing Green Scripts was part of her original vision when planning the dementia-friendly trail.
"The physical, social, and psychological benefit derived from Green Scripts has been widely known for a very long time," she said.
Ms Tudor said it would "change the way prescribing doctors and practice nurses interact with patients recently diagnosed with dementia as they now have something concrete and positive to offer their patients".
Ms Settle said the passion and ingenuity of the alliance and the community in championing dementia-friendly spaces was "incredibly impressive".
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