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Nature Lovers Help Those With Dementia To Connect

How two keen nature lovers have helped people with dementia to connect with the world around them...

Over the past two years, many of us have reconnected with the natural world on our doorstep.

But how often have you heard birdsong and wondered what it was exactly? Or heard some snuffling in a hedgerow or grassy bank, but you don’t know your mole from your vole?

Those issues are more pronounced for people with dementia, for whom correctly recognising natural sounds can bring back vital, life­-enhancing memories.

Help is at hand thanks to Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington, two keen nature lovers who write and illustrate nature guides for their company, Fine Feather Press.

Caz and Andrea started the company with children in mind – producing beautifully illustrated, easy ­to ­understand nature guides for younger enthusiasts.

Now they’ve discovered their books help a much wider range of readers, including the blind and visually impaired and those with dementia.

Many of Caz and Andrea’s books come with beautifully curated, prolonged sound recordings to help identify wild animals and birds.

The talented pair already knew their books were popular with younger readers with disabilities thanks to the multisensory approach they encourage.

But it was while checking their online reviews, they discovered they’d opened up new worlds for older readers with disabilities too.

“Bought for dad who has dementia and loves wildlife. It’s not just a quick burst of indistinct noise, it’s a prolonged proper birdsong. Dad loves it,” explained one reviewer.

“I’ve purchased these for myself and a few other “elderly” family members—we love them!! Easy, quick bird reference with excellent quality bird songs, so we can easily identify our favourite birds. When you have arthritis and bad eyes, these are the best!!,” said another.

The books are especially easy to access because they extensively feature the colour green – as you’d expect with books focusing on the natural world. Green is the most visible colour to the human eye which means it’s also the most restful for a whole range of readers with disabilities.

Green is also the last colour that people with dementia lose the ability to see, hence the books’ popularity with older audiences. Other readers have heaped praise on the books for being an ideal way to introduce blind and visually impaired readers to the sounds of nature, helping them to enjoy reading along with a companion, and learning at the same time.

“We’ve been surprised and delighted to discover that the books appeal to such a broad range of readers,” said Andrea and Caz. “They’ve humbled and encouraged us to grow our range of books bringing the best of nature to your bookshelf.”

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