Written by Active Minds on Friday the 10th of March 2017.
If you have a loved one who is living with dementia, it may seem like having a day out is impossible. However, with the right amount of preparation and location planning, a day trip will lift your loved ones’ spirits and feelings of well-being. Here are some of our suggestions for a dementia-friendly day out:
Trip Down Memory Lane
Consider spending your day visiting places from your loved ones past, such as their old schools or houses they have lived in. Not only will this encourage a person living with dementia to reminisce, but it is also an opportunity for you and your family to learn about their past and share in their memories.
Though it might seem that a museum or art gallery may be a little overwhelming, due to the size of the venues and the crowds that may also be visiting, if you pick the correct time and location, they can be a great place to spend the day. Museums and art galleries allow their visitors to set their own pace and stop when and where they want to. In fact, in recent years there has been a move towards museums becoming more dementia-friendly, with venues such as The Beamish Museum, developing a centre for people living with dementia. Or the RAF Museum in Cosford, which offer a range of dementia friendly activities. In turn this means that the museums are dementia aware and will have appropriate facilities.
Obviously, the timing of the trip is integral, avoid school holidays and the summer, as there will be more people and more noise, which people living with dementia can find distressing. When choosing the right museum/gallery, research to see if they run dementia related activities, as well as choosing museums that are specific to your loved ones’ past, e.g. a World War II exhibition, as this will encourage them to explore memories.
Explore The Great Outdoors
Now don’t worry, this doesn’t mean climbing a huge mountain or trekking through jungle, but the positive benefits of fresh air and gentle exercise for people living with dementia has been thoroughly researched. Gentle exercise not only helps maintain strength and mobility, encouraging prolonged independent living, but it can also improve sleep patterns, build-up appetite and reduce stress and depression. Spend time at a local park or woodland, enjoying the fresh air and gentle exercise. Or for more adventurous types, companies like Dementia Adventure, create outdoor activities for people living with dementia and their loved ones.
Keep It Simple
Not all day trips need to be adventurous however, simply visiting a local café for tea and cake can be a lovely and relaxing trip out. Across the UK there are plenty of dementia friendly cafes, a warm and social environment that provides support, information and advice, as well as being a fun and friendly café to make friends. For a full list of Dementia Friendly Cafes across Britain, take a look here.
A Day Of Music
The power of music for people living with dementia has been well documented, so why not spend a day enjoying music with your loved one. You could visit a concert, choosing one that will be performing your loved ones’ favourite songs, so they can enjoy reminiscing. Or, if your loved one enjoys singing, then the Alzheimer’s Society runs ‘Singing for the Brain’ sessions. These sessions bring people living with dementia and their carers together in a friendly and stimulating environment, allowing all involved to express themselves through song, and explore memories that the music may spark.