Memory Walks

Exercising in an attractive, safe and friendly environment

“Last year was my first time walking with other people who had, and still are, experiencing the same pain of watching someone you love going further and further away from you. We didn’t know one another but the support and true compassion everyone had for each other renewed my faith in people. It helped me to get through a very hard time. I consider myself lucky and look forward to having the opportunity to share with them again and to be there for others who are going through the same.”

(MaryAnn, Memory Walker)

This autumn, thousands of people will come together to raise money and walk for their loved ones, as part of Alzheimer Scotland’s Memory Walk 2015 series. Memory Walks are very special events. More than just sponsored walks, they bring people who care about dementia together to show their support for the 90,000 people in Scotland with dementia and those closest to them.

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At Alzheimer Scotland, we don’t see raising money as something that happens in isolation from the rest of the charity’s work. We aim for our Memory Walks to be truly inclusive, dementia-friendly events that are welcoming and accessible for everyone. As well as our main walks, which are usually around 5 kilometres (3 miles), we offer shorter routes for people who are less mobile or who use wheelchair, and for families with small children, so that everyone can get involved. Many of our routes are dog-friendly too. We also provide a range of fun activities, from bouncy castles to reminiscence areas, so that people who prefer not to take part in the walk can still enjoy a day out.

Fresh air and exercise does us all good

We know that spending time outdoors is beneficial in improving mood, helping people to deal with stress and encouraging healthy sleep patterns. In 2015 our Memory Walks are taking place in a range of stunning locations which have a rich natural and built heritage. Our Baxters Memory Walk in Moray will launch a brand new Heritage Trail in Fochabers and Speyside; Our Glasgow Memory Walk in Kelvingrove Park offers the chance to see some beautiful wildlife including kingfishers, cormorants and otters; and our first ever Dumfries Memory Walk takes place in the fascinating historic surrounds of Easterbrook Hall.

Although our main routes are not long, some of them are a little on the hilly, bumpy or muddy side and will definitely stretch our Memory Walkers’ legs. We know that leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of people with dementia and carers as well as being a factor in reducing the risk of developing dementia, so we view Memory Walks as an opportunity to encourage everyone to enjoy exercising in an attractive, safe and friendly environment.

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Many of our Memory Walkers have dementia, and many others care for loved ones with dementia, or have done so in the past. They tell us that they really value the opportunity to come together with others in the same situation with a common purpose of raising funds. Memory Walks raised an amazing £100,000 in 2014 – but we need so much more to safeguard our vital services and reach more of the people who need our help. The money we raise in 2015 will be used to fund our Dementia Advisors, Dementia Helpline, Dementia Nurses and research, as well as services in local communities across Scotland. In 2014 over 2,500 people showed they cared and took part in Memory Walks – this year, we want to recruit even more amazing Memory Walkers to help us make sure nobody faces dementia alone.

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Four ways you can help!

  • Register for your local walk, Click here to learn more about Memory Walks
  • We also need volunteers to help with activities on the day and marshalling. If you would like to volunteer please email or call 0300 303 7777
  • Can you help us recruit more Memory Walkers by distributing leaflets and posters to your contacts? Please email or call 0300 303 7777
  • Spread the word online by liking our Memory Walks Facebook page and sharing our posts

For more information on keeping active you can also look the following links:


Catherine Thomas

Head of Fundraising Events and Trusts 


Catherine has worked in fundraising for twelve years and joined Alzheimer Scotland in 2009.   She oversees Alzheimer Scotland’s fundraising activities involving individual supporters, sponsored and community events and charitable trusts.

How Can We Create Dementia Friendly Occupational Therapy Graduates?

This was the question we explored in our You, Me and Dementia resource project.

Raising awareness of dementia and its impact on the lives of those we love, live with and work with is an increasingly important issue in the education sphere. University graduates need to enter society feeling equipped to support the growing numbers of people who experience dementia.

In January 2014, Julia-Helen and I had the privilege of working with our fantastic Occupational Therapy Lecturer Dr Claire Craig to create a co-produced dementia resource by students for students.

Claire wanted to explore ways to meet the new HFEE dementia curriculum for higher education and gave us the opportunity to co-create a resource delivered to occupational therapy students to share information about what dementia is, and how to work alongside people living with dementia in a sensitive and empowering way.

The ultimate aim was to create a resource that could be used not only with occupational therapy students, but tailored to meet the needs of different types of students across the university and developed into an online accessible App.


What do occupational therapy students need to know about dementia?

We met over 4 weeks, initially brainstorming what type of information to include in the resource – what do occupational therapy students need to know about dementia and how should we deliver it?

We felt that it was important to ask the students themselves what they wanted to know, so we sent out a poll to find out what they were most concerned about and what topics were important to them.

Based on their answers, we created a presentation using Prezi software and delivered this as a 1 hour lecture, covering information about the types of dementia and how to work with people with dementia with respect.

We drew on work by Kitwood and Jackie Pool, which promotes a person-centred equitable relationship and recognises that it is people living with dementia themselves who can teach us most about the condition and how to support them. We included short videos by the wonderful Scottish Dementia Working Group to illustrate this. (@S_D_W_G).


Click here to view the presentation we developed & then delivered.

We paired the lecture with an interactive 2 hour workshop, to give students the chance to explore what it might feel like to experience dementia through games, discussions and practical experiments. We also discussed creative ways to deliver occupational therapy interventions with an emphasis on self-expression through tools such as poetry and singing.

So what did the project achieve?

Well we had fantastic feedback from our student peers about their experience of the resource! And we ourselves underwent a transformation through the trust and responsibly bestowed on us co-production experience. It helped us step into our professional selves and envisage our future as autonomous occupational therapy practitioners.

Here is the link to the YouTube video of us talking about our dementia resource and our contribution to creating dementia-friendly occupational therapy graduates?

We would love to hear your comments on this work and other ideas you have to enable our practitioners of the future, of all disciplines to be “dementia-friendly”.


Gill Smith: 

Sheffield Hallam University occupational therapy graduate 


Julia-Helen Collins: @JuliaHelenOT

Sheffield Hallam University occupational therapy graduate