Planning days out for people with dementia

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Bank holidays are often a chance for families to get together.

When days out include older people, it may be that the planning needs to take into account an older person with dementia.

Home care provider Helping Hands, which has an office in Leeds, has put together some helpful advice for those looking to plan a day trip with a family member living with the condition.

Tiffany Smith, dementia specialist at Helping Hands, said that one of the most important ways to prepare was to research your destination.

“Before planning any day out with a loved one with dementia, research your destination to ensure that it is dementia friendly,” she said.

“As a general rule, you should look for quieter, more scenic places to visit as opposed to cities. Cities can be quite loud and the long walking distances can be tiresome.

“Consider taking a trip to somewhere that will evoke fond memories for your loved one, whether it’s somewhere they lived previously or somewhere they played as a child,” she added.

“This is great activity for all generations of the family as they can share memories and learn about their family history.”

But be prepared to change usual plans as they may not suit a dementia suffered.

Tiffany said: “Meeting family at busy restaurants and other activities you associate as days out can be stressful for a person living with dementia. It’s important to make sure your loved one feels fully included in the celebrations of the day and be prepared to make some adjustments to make the day as calm and stress-free as possible.”

Other tips include:

You don’t need to travel far - look out locally for activities that are dementia friendly if your loved one is unable to travel long distances.

Plan meals in advance - find a quieter pub or restaurant, as increased noise can be disorientating. Make sure the venue has plenty of room to allow your loved one to walk about while waiting. You could even notify the pub in advance, so you don’t have as long to wait.

Stay within the comfort zone - it is sometimes best to avoid activities they are not comfortable with, or things that require them to remain stationary for a long period of time, like the cinema. These may increase anxiety.