Planning a day out with someone that has dementia
Planning a day out with someone who has dementia requires a delicate balance between ensuring their comfort, safety, and enjoyment. It's a journey that requires both patience and empathy. The following steps can help create a positive and meaningful experience for both you and your loved one
Choose Familiar SettingsOpt for places that are familiar to the person with dementia, such as their favourite park, a familiar cafe, or a place from their past. Familiar surroundings can help reduce anxiety and confusion.
Time of DaySchedule the outing during the time of day when the person with dementia is usually most alert and calm. Avoid times when they might be prone to increased confusion or agitation.
Simple ActivitiesSelect simple, engaging activities that cater to their interests and abilities. Activities like a leisurely stroll, looking at old photos, or enjoying live music can be soothing and enjoyable.
Plan BreaksDementia can lead to fatigue and sensory overload. Plan regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and take a moment to relax. Having a quiet space to retreat to can be comforting if the person becomes overwhelmed.
Pack EssentialsBring along necessary items like medications, water, snacks, and any required documentation. Keep a small bag with essentials to ensure the person's needs are met throughout the day.
CommunicationKeep communication simple and clear. Use short sentences and speak slowly, giving them time to process information. Maintain eye contact and use nonverbal cues like gentle touches and smiles.
Dressing ComfortablyChoose comfortable clothing for both yourself and the person with dementia. Dressing in layers can help adapt to changing weather conditions.
Engaging ConversationsKeep conversations light and positive. Ask open-ended questions that encourage reminiscing and sharing stories from the past. Avoid correcting them if they share memories that seem inaccurate; instead, focus on the emotion behind their words.
TransportationPlan the mode of transportation that is least stressful for the person. If driving might cause anxiety, consider using public transportation or arranging for a reliable and familiar driver.
Safety FirstPrioritise safety at all times. Ensure the environment is free of potential hazards and have a plan in case the person becomes disoriented or anxious.
Patience and FlexibilityBe prepared for the unexpected. Dementia can lead to changes in mood and behaviour. Stay patient and adaptable, adjusting plans if needed to ensure the person's well-being.
Capture MemoriesBring a camera or smartphone to capture moments throughout the day. These photos can serve as cherished memories for both of you and provide opportunities for conversation in the future.
Remember that the goal of the day is not necessarily to accomplish a lot, but to create meaningful moments and connections. By approaching the day with compassion, understanding, and a focus on the person's comfort, you can create a positive experience that leaves both of you with cherished memories.