If you have a relative or care for someone older or particularly for anyone who is living with a dementia, planning an outing can seem rather daunting, so much so that you may be tempted to give up the idea and stay put.
You maybe worried about getting the person onto or into a bus or car, medication issues, food and drink and toileting arrangements. However, much can be gained from getting outside in the fresh air, having a different scene to vew and enjoying all the sounds and smells that can help to stimulate the senses and cheer up anyone's mood.
So it is worth making a bit more effort to help make the outing run smoothly and avoid any issues before they arise.
Dementia UK has a list of helpful tips provided by Admiral Nurse Helen Green, she suggests:
- 'Don’t tell the person with dementia that you’re planning to go out too far in advance – this might make them anxious. Tell them on the day itself, giving them enough time to get ready at their own pace, without feeling rushed'
- 'If possible, choose to go somewhere that is already familiar to the person. If you’re going somewhere to eat, try to find somewhere with easy access, clear signs to toilets, and large spaces between tables. If you’re not sure whether the place has any of these things, phone ahead and ask'
- 'Choose a quieter time of day to go, so you’re not eating during the lunch or dinner time rush. Have a look at the menu on the internet in advance, so that the person can decide what to order before you get there. Otherwise, call in advance and ask what’s on the menu that day, and think about asking if you can order and maybe even pay before you get there, so that there is less hubbub at the table'
- 'It might be less formal and easier to go for afternoon tea, or to an ice cream parlour. Some parks and garden centres have outside cafes where you might have a bit more room and feel less aware of other people sitting around you'
- 'The most important thing is that you and the person with dementia enjoy yourself' (*See below for link to source)
Above all, allow yourself plenty of time to plan ahead and remember that the simplest of destinations will make a great deal of different to someone who spends long periods of time inside - even sitting outside in a nearby garden, watching and listening to the birds.
Activities to Share have organised a section on our website called 'On The Buses' especially for journeys, well thought out products to help alleviate stressful situation like getting someone on something unfamilar like a bus. Items to keep hands and minds occupied on the journey - there's even some sing along CDs for those group outings who love a sing song!
Take a look at our website to see what we have to help you make your next outing a fun and happy time for everyone.