Days trips with someone with dementia can be challenging, but they are vital for wellbeing. Ensure a successful day trip by following these tips.
Put some thought into your chosen location. A good option may be somewhere the individual has memories of so aid conversation and keep things familiar, but somewhere new is good too if vetted appropriately. The important thing is to choose somewhere that isn’t too busy, noisy or unpredictable. Look up venues online before attending, and look for wheelchair accessible places as this tends to indicate they are more disabled-friendly overall.
Having difficulties with memory is a primary symptom of dementia, affecting mostly short-term memories. Long-term memories are also affected, but usually not as severely, meaning reminiscing can be soothing for individuals suffering from dementia. Taking someone with dementia to places they have a history with can make for a wholesome day out. Think of places they went when they were younger, activities they used to partake in, and how to incorporate things you know they like.
Everything will take more time than they normally would, so factor this into your plans. Venues where you can take your time and go at your own pace are ideal. Activities should be kept short so the individual does not have to concentrate for too long. This is also important to prevent them from getting weary, as symptoms can get worse when they are tired.
The great outdoors
Going outdoors is good for the soul and wonderful for your health. A gentle stroll or wander in a wheelchair around the park can make for a lovely day out – just remember to check the weather!
It’s important to have a plan and think ahead, as dementia causes individuals to become confused and even scared. Having a plan for routes, timings and activities mean you always know what you are doing and can stay on top of things. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they will be. Think about what may be happening on different days, for example, bank holidays may mean a busier and more hectic outing. You could even do a trial run of the day out yourself, quickly going over the route looking for any potential pitfalls. Keep rest stops in mind and buy tickets in advance, previous preparation will help the real thing go nice and smooth.
Make a list! Keep yourself calm and organised with a handy checklist of all the things you and your loved one may need. Medication, extra layers and chargers for devices may be a good idea.
Bring a partner
Consider bringing someone else along to help you and your loved one feel calm. You could even ask a carer to come with you, just to make sure everything goes to plan and to make tasks where you may need to split up like going to the bathroom that bit easier.
Record the memories
Keep note of where was good and where was bad, what to avoid in future and what made your loved one happy. This will serve as a helpful guide for future planning and be a lovely book of memories. Most importantly, plan, relax, be positive and look up the best carers and Devon care homes to help you out.