Walking and talking, or just walking and thinking, and working. That sounds like a tongue-twister or maybe a misprint, but it is neither.

Sometimes being constantly present with a partner who has Alzheimer’s is really hard work. But being able to share time walking outdoors can be a superb way to ease the burden and find some quality time together.

If mobility and the weather permits, a casual walk together in a park is a wonderful way to relax. It was always a perfect way for me to make a happy and healthy connection with my late wife Dorothy. She had always loved her garden and especially in the earlier days of her diagnosis, we walked every day we could.

It was a lovely way for us to be together in a calm and relaxed way as we walked hand-in-hand in our nearby bushwalks and public reserves. Visiting shopping centres, however, was always fraught with tension and unexpected encounters. But a walk in the bush – sweet!

Sometimes we would talk a lot, sometimes hardly at all. It was easy to find a stimulus to help us enjoy shared time together. We would speak or nod acknowledgement to other walkers, enjoy looking at trees and plants, even the shape and variety of leaves, stones, and insects and especially, birds. Outdoors or indoors, we looked for an exchange of minds, if not words. Yes, a walk in the park is great therapy!

A walk in the park may not be the right stimulus to achieve an improved connection for you and your mate but it worked for us, right through our life travels. Being out in the fresh air continues to help me break free from frictions and stress – to find a closeness to nature and to be at ease.

Now, as a single silent walker, especially now in Spring, I still stop and look and smell the bush, the gardens. And I also remember all the walks we had together in our travels to so many different places for over half a century. Now that was multitasking – on whole different level….