Alzheimer’s Caregivers – Tips for Outings

Being a caregiver for an elderly family member can a demanding job, not only physically but also emotionally.  And if the loved-one being cared for has Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia, challenging behavior changes can add to the stress and strain of being a caregiver.

Daily tasks such as getting dressed, showering or sharing meals can become increasingly challenging for caregivers as Alzheimer’s progresses.  But with careful planning to avoid agitation and a great deal of patience, people living with dementia can experience a better quality of life and caregivers less frustration.

Expectations will frequently need to be adjusted as the behavior of a loved-one changes over time and caregivers may have to be flexible about schedules and routines, adjusting to the shifting needs of the person with dementia.

Planning outings with people who may be in the earlier stages of A.D. can be a welcome change from routine but can also present a number difficulties.   Thankfully with greater awareness surrounding dementia, there are a growing number of resources available to help caregivers navigate the complex task of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and stay one step ahead of potential problems.

Tips for Outings

  • Choose a time of day that the person with A.D. is at their best
  • Keep outings short to avoid fatigue and frustration
  • Select a time of day that is less busy and noisy, especially in restaurants
  • Carry a small business-sized card explaining that the family member has Alzheimer’s; staff can be prepared for any unexpected actions.
  • Be flexible, if a plan for an outing falls on a difficult day, try another time after a rest or on a better day.
  • Choose familiar places with quick service and a helpful staff
  • Bring along any items you may need for meals or the bathroom
  • Menus that have pictures are helpful for people with Alzheimer’s but they may need help ordering
  • Try to offer just two choices to minimize frustration
  • Ask the waiter to only fill glasses half full and quickly order starters or appetizers to hold interest

Source:  National Institute on Aging

For more Alzheimer’s caregiving tips visit the National Institute on Aging website by following this link or the Mayo Clinic website here.