Derbyshire Wildlife Trust: Care Homes’ Experiences of 30 Days Wild

The staff and residents of both homes were up for the challenge, which they hoped would improve morale and mental wellbeing, and enhance life at Cedar Court.

Like thousands of other individuals, families, organisations and workplaces around the country Cedar Court Dementia Care Home, and its sister residence Cedar Court Nursing Home in South Derbyshire took part in the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild initiative. The aim of 30 Days Wild is a modest one; participants must choose one random act of wildness each day throughout June in an effort to engage with nature and rediscover the simple joys to be found in wild interactions. We are increasingly at the mercy of technology, and the Wildlife Trusts want to remind us that the great outdoors still offers enrichment, opportunities for adventure and, above all, fun. The staff and residents of both homes were up for the challenge, which they hoped would improve morale and mental wellbeing, and enhance life at Cedar Court.

The magical thing about 30 Days Wild is that gestures needn’t be grand or expensive. Over the course of those 30 days staff and residents at both Cedar Court homes spotted pheasants in the surrounding countryside, took turns to spend time gardening and enjoying the garden’s pond, appreciated flowers and the pollinators they attracted, breathed cool, fresh air in shadier spots and potted plants. Less able residents were taken into the garden area to see the plants, and most have access to views of the birds feeding at tables and window-mounted houses. These were activities that many of the residents enjoyed anyway, but a new appreciation for those pastimes was discovered; 30 Days Wild inspired mindfulness, and motivated staff and residents to think about why they like being outdoors so much.

30 Days Wild Care Homes

30 Days Wild Care Homes

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve hopefully inspired the homes to remain as wild as possible all year around.”

Marketing assistant Louise, who championed the initiative and its benefits, says, “We know that being outside and embracing nature can have drastic, positive effects on mood, and physical and mental health. For the elderly those advantages can have so many other impacts; embracing 30 Days Wild has given staff and residents opportunities for new adventures, cognitive enrichment and physical activity, as well as social interactions encouraged by being outside with one another. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve hopefully inspired the homes to remain as wild as possible all year around.”

30 Days Wild planting

30 Days Wild planting

The central office staff of Your Health LTD, which owns and manages Cedar Court Dementia Care Home and Cedar Court Nursing Home, endeavoured to be wilder, too. The management was particularly keen to think about the issue of plastic straws, and banishing disposable plastics that might otherwise end up in our countryside and oceans. The staff snapped pictures of stag beetles, bees, waddling ducks and an intrepid family of geese, as well as undertaking wild crafts with younger members of their own families. It was easier than anyone imagined to embrace wildlife – something that stands the company in good stead for a wilder, more environmentally conscious year.

And don't forget to stay wild.

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