Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 18th of April 2019.
Everyone needs a refreshing change of scenery sometimes. Days out can have a variety of emotional, mental and physical benefits for those living with dementia. Not only does it improve mood and reduce stress, but it also provides a great opportunity for exercising and exploring. Often the stress of planning days out for those living with dementia can be off putting, however the importance and benefits cannot be stressed enough. With the right planning you can ensure your loved one has an enjoyable and stress free day out.
Think ahead as to what your loved one may want or need on the day, including anything you may need in order to be there for them. A few things to keep in mind that you may need are; tickets, money, blue badge, food and drinks, ID, medication, phone, suitable footwear and a change of clothes.
It is good idea to pre-book your chosen venue as it saves any additional stress or queues on the day. You should also be sure to prepare for the weather; hats, scarves, gloves and umbrellas for winter weather or if you’re lucky, sun cream for a summer’s day. Another important item to ensure you bring is a camera, you don’t want to miss out on any precious moments or memories.
Plan the Journey
Ensure you have carefully considered your journey in advance, both in terms of the route you will take and how long it will take you. Plan to incorporate sufficient rest stops so that the journey is relaxed and comfortable for everyone. Another important tool for the journey is to remember a map or sat-nav so that you can easily re-route if there is traffic. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and water at hand for longer journeys.
It’s also important to reassure your loved one as you travel and tell them where you are going and what you are doing so as not to cause worry or confusion.
A suitable location is of the utmost importance and contributes massively to the success of the day. You should make sure it not only is suitably engaging but also meets the practical needs of your loved one. Make sure to do some research before hand for dementia friendly locations or read reviews to find out how accessible the venue is. There is a breadth of information available online, so you should be able to make an informed decision.
To ensure you have chosen the correct location you could also call the venue to let them know you’ll be coming and ask for any advice on how to make your day run smoothly, they may even offer further assistance. The location you decide on could be weather dependant, if it’s a nice day outside you can always spend time at a local park or go on a walk, or perhaps choose a museum filled with items your loved one can relate to if you would prefer an indoor activity.
Timing is everything. Some people living with dementia can get anxiety when in large crowds, therefore it is important to avoid busy times such as school holidays and weekends. Some research and contacting venues will soon tell you when the quieter times are, and it is advisable that you take advantage of this.
You should also consider the timing of your journey. Traffic jams can also be stress inducing for your loved one so it’s best to avoid rush hour. It’s also important to consider your loved ones routines and try to keep to them as much as possible on your day out, including meal times.
Days out can be provide many benefits for your loved one including giving opportunities for reminiscence, exercise and experiencing nature. It’s important to plan ahead to ensure your day is enjoyable and runs as smoothly as possible for everyone.