Enjoying a day out with your loved one can be beneficial for you both, but will require some good planning in advance. Your choice of where you spend your day out is also important and of course there will be many other aspects to consider if you are going to enjoy a trouble free day. In this article we cover all things concerning day trips for elderly with dementia.
Day Trips for Elderly with Dementia
Here we bring you tips and suggestions for senior-friendly day trips for memory impaired individuals:
A place to reminisce
Planning a visit to a place where you used to holiday, take your children or was your favourite place to walk brings many bonuses as a day’s outing for seniors with dementia.
Your loved one will really enjoy sharing memories which will bring happiness. Plus it will evoke in them a warm feeling of accomplishment.
Visit a museum
Museums are a good choice for Alzheimer’s day trips as they can often trigger a memory or renew an interest that your loved one once had.
Visiting a museum that was a favourite in the past can be particularly rewarding.
Join in a group activity
Socialising is very important and a carefully chosen group activity can be a good choice for elderly dementia-friendly excursions.
As well as enjoying the activity, your loved one will benefit from the sense of community and friendship. This can help to combat feelings of loneliness and can lift the spirits as they bond with new people.
An alternative idea is to go to a sports event together. This can again trigger memories and also encourage your loved one to socialise.
Enjoy the outdoors
Whether you plan to visit your local beach, public gardens or your favourite park or woods, being outdoors will definitely be a positive experience for your loved one’s physical and mental well-being.
A gentle walk is good exercise and being out in good weather gives the body a boost of vitamin D. All great for joints and bones!
Enjoying time outdoors together will make your loved one feel free and more independent. This in turn can reduce stress and improve their mood. A day in the open air will also help them to sleep better.
If your loved one enjoys gardening, time spent outdoors working together in the garden can reap many benefits and your loved one will feel a sense of achievement.
Meet some animals
Farms and petting zoos offer fun dementia-safe day trips for the elderly as most thrive on the opportunity of watching and stroking the animals and it has been proven that making a connection with animals encourages conversation and is a good mood booster for those with dementia.
Check your chosen destination is dementia-friendly
Once you have decided on your day trip it is important to check that it is going to be suitable for your loved ones in terms of ease of getting around, distances involved and whether there are numerous stairs etc. to negotiate.
Does the venue have suitable parking and easily accessible walkways?
Is there plenty of seating and good toilet facilities?
What about cafés and seating under cover?
If your loved one is in a wheelchair, it is essential to check that the place you have chosen is definitely wheelchair friendly.
More and more places are becoming dementia aware and have been thoughtfully designed with clear signage. Many also have dementia- friendly staff who have been specifically trained in dementia awareness. Some places organise special events for people with dementia.
The essential 10-point dementia day trip preparation list:
1. Choose somewhere for your day trip that is relatively close to home. A long journey can be stressful for people with dementia.
2. A few days before your planned visit start to keep an eye on the weather reports. Having said that, a light shower or snowfall can be fun and will stimulate your loved one’s senses and prove a real mood booster.
3. Decide when you are going to make the trip to avoid large crowds and queues if possible. It is usually best to avoid popular beaches, museums, zoos and petting farms during school holidays too.
4. Consider the possible noise levels of your chosen destination. This could prove very unsettling for your loved one.
5. Book tickets in advance and set money aside ready for any extras.
6. Plan your route if you are driving or the easiest journey if using public transport and buy your tickets in advance
7. Make a clothing list for your loved one and always add a raincoat just in case! If the weather is cooler and your loved one is in a wheelchair, take a rug to keep their legs warm. .
8. At the bottom of the list add any medications you will need to take plus any panty pads, baby wipes etc.
9. Consider the food and drink you will need. Plenty of small cups of water are ideal and finger foods work well.
10. Make sure your smartphone is well charged – not only in case you have any problems, but because you will want to take plenty of photographs.
Day Trips for Elderly with Dementia- Final Thoughts
With all this careful planning, you should both have a really good day out and in the days afterwards it will be fun to create a scrapbook of the day together. That way you can look at it regularly to relive the memories and plan your next day trip for a second scrapbook….