In general, persons living with dementia love outings, and it is a great way to engage them, as well as giving them something to talk about before and afterwards. Depending on the stage of dementia, an outing can be a great time to relieve the frustration of sitting in one room and to relieve the boredom.
There is no reason why an outing cannot be a complete success, but it does require a lot of planning. You will want to know your loved one is capable of negotiating any paths or that the venue you have selected is wheelchair accessible. You also will want to check that it is open when you plan to go there. Also, in these COVID times, you will want to be sure to pick a time that is not too crowded and a place where people are wearing masks. If the weather permits, an outdoor outing may be the safest choice—or a museum where social distancing is practiced. A picnic can be fun if your loved one is likely to enjoy that.
Make sure the transportation is arranged in advance; use the toilets before you leave; if incontinence is an issue, bring extra disposable undergarments. Bring snacks! They can be great diversions if you need one.
Use our Companion Cards to explain you are with a person living with dementia.
At St. John’s, we find that is is helpful to let people around us know what to expect when interacting with our residents with dementia. You can use a Companion Card pinned to a jacket or blouse that reads, “Please be patient. The person I am with has dementia.”
Print your own companion cards for dementia or Alzheimer’s.