Getting Outdoors

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Feeling cooped up indoors? You aren’t alone! Research shows that physical isolation indoors can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and the desire to wander in individuals with dementia.¹ Find a trail in a nearby state or city park, or even just the patio at home, and take your loved one on an outdoor excursion.

Things to do:

  • Collect leaves and small rocks to touch and feel, and flowers to smell – sensory stimulation is a valuable part of all dementia-friendly activities.
  • Take a portable radio onto the patio and listen to music, or find a place with plenty of birds and wildlife and listen to the sounds of nature.
  • Pack a lunch and have a picnic at an outdoor table,  or find a nearby cafe with dementia-friendly services and outdoor seating.
  • Go on a brief hike along a paved path, with plenty of rests along the way – if your loved one is immobile, wheelchair access is a must!

Tips & Strategies

  • Always pack drinks, snacks, and essential toiletries for excursions, even if you’ll only be out for a little bit.
  • Never leave your loved one alone when outside of the home, even for a moment – keep everything you need with you at all times.
  • Take stock of nearby public restrooms and facilities if travelling to a city or state park.
  • Make the excursion a group activity! Invite some friends or family members along, or coordinate a group trip with other caregivers.
  • Keep a close eye on the fatigue of your loved one – if they start to look tired or restless, prepare to return home.
  • Don’t venture too far from your vehicle – try to do short walking trails that loop back to the start, instead of venturing out too far from where you start.
  • Most importantly – have fun and take in the outdoors!

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26770801

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