There is a common misconception that a dementia diagnosis is the end of getting out of the house to enjoy the activities that someone used to. While the disease poses many new challenges to daily life and leisure activities, we believe that not only does life continue after dementia, but that enjoying life can help both the patient and caregiver.
Avoid sensory overload. Issues arise in confusing and overwhelming situations, so avoid chaotic places and opt instead for quieter scenes. Shopping malls and sports games have a lot of people and noise that may confuse or upset your loved one with dementia. Museums and galleries, on the other hand, rely on other senses and are far more enjoyable.
Go at an easy pace. Avoid rushing or stressing your loved one with dementia. If time is critical, perhaps this isn’t the best day for an outing. Make sure you’re able to take it at their pace.
Avoid schedule disruption. Maintaining a predictable schedule is a great asset in caring for someone with dementia, so try to plan outings that fit around the schedule, for example avoiding meal times or other daily activities.
Try some light exercise. A mental health diagnosis, such as dementia, does not mean that physical health becomes less important – in fact, studies suggest that light physical activity is a great aid to dementia care. Try incorporating walks, swimming, or other gentle activities that your loved one has always enjoyed into their outings.
Make memories. Outings are important to your loved one, but also for you too. Enjoy quality time with family and build warm memories together.