Project AMM25

The Contribution of Physical Activity to Social Connectivity and Wellbeing in Older Adults Living with Dementia

This project followed on from a national evaluation of Dementia Friendly Communities (DFCs), the DEMCOM study. The focus of the project was to explore how DFCs involve and engage people living with dementia in physical activity.


Physical activity can improve the wellbeing of people affected by dementia and their carers. It may also help people living with dementia to feel connected with their local community.  Yet, the impact of physical activity programmes on the experience of people living with dementia is often overlooked. The current project examined the provision of physical activities by DFCs in England for older adults living with dementia and the strategies used to engage this population in the planning and running of activities.

A mix of research methods were used including: a survey completed by the leads of DFCs, detailed case studies of three DFCs with different experiences of providing physical activity, interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders and documentary analysis. All stages of the project involved ‘experts by experience’ from Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) groups.

Project Aims

The project aimed to create several resources including a document that could be used by people living with dementia to find out what is offered in their local area and guidelines for DFCs outlining how to make physical activity inclusive and accessible for people living with dementia.

Project Activity

  • A resource to be used by people living with dementia to find out what activities are offered in their local area was created and can be viewed on the Stevenage Borough Council website here 
  • A report of the key findings from the research is made available on this page.
  • It is also accessible via the website of the Research Unit for Sport, Physical Activity and Ageing in the Centre for Research in Psychology and Sport Sciences (CRiPSS).
  • The key findings have been shared with people living with dementia through different events organised with the case study DFCs.
  • The most recent report from a meeting with the Stevenage Dementia Involvement Group discussing physical activity in Stevenage can be viewed here
  • We are working to feed our research findings into the new Hertfordshire Dementia Strategy;
Researcher Rebecca Hadley meeting with local PPI group to discuss the project

Rebecca Hadley meeting with local residents to discuss the project

Researcher Rebecca Hadley at Healthy Stevenage Day 2021

DEMCOM Active study at Healthy Stevenage Day 2021

Who was involved?


Professor Elizabeth Pike 

Researchers and institutions

Dr Elspeth Mathie (Co-lead), Professor Claire Goodman (Co-investigator) and Rebecca Hadley (Post-doctoral research assistant).

All from the University of Hertfordshire.

Contact us

Elizabeth Pike (