Going outside on a little excursion, and getting some air or getting some sun if we’re lucky, is good for everybody – and that includes people with dementia. Planning your outing and having a think about anything that might prove tricky later on can make all the difference to the success of your day.
Here are some tips on taking a person with dementia out for the afternoon or the day, whether you are going to a restaurant or café, or to a park or garden centre for a walk.
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
If you want any further advice on taking someone with dementia out or anything else to do with looking after someone with dementia, please call the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678, Monday to Friday 9am-9pm and at weekends, 9am-5pm.
Read our information leaflets
Our free information leaflets are written by our specialist dementia nurses and put together in response to the questions we hear on our Helpline and in the community