If you have a parent in a long-term care facility, then you are aware that each day is never like the last. On one visit, you may be able to connect with your parent and relive past experiences and memories. On another, you may struggle to communicate with them, and this can be frustrating for both parties involved. One of the best ways to connect with a parent that struggles with dementia is through planning an activity that you can enjoy together. There are a few important tips that you should consider when planning this outing.
Avoid Involving Too Many People
If you rarely get to experience activities with your parent anymore, then you may be tempted to invite as many family members as possible. If you have a small family, and the group consists of only one or two other people, then this can still be a good experience. However, if your family is large, and you have difficulty counting the number of people on one hand, then this can overwhelm your parent with dementia. This can end up aggravating your parent and making them feel uncomfortable.
Keep the Activity as Simple as Possible
It is important to plan an activity that has few distractions and little stimulation. Maybe your parent's favorite activity used to be going to the slopes during winter break. While this may have been their favorite activity, they may not enjoy it as much now. The influx of people at the ski slopes makes this destination incredibly crowded, noisy, and uncomfortable for people who suffer from dementia. Therefore, it is important to look for activities that are not as complex. A simple drive through nature and a walk on the beach are simple activities that can still be enjoyed by all parties involved.
Be Open to Change
In order to get the most out of your visits, it is important that you are open to change. You may have planned a yoga class for two only to find that your parent is no longer interested in participating in the class. Instead of forcing them to go, you should take the time to listen to their wants and be flexible. Flexibility is important if you want to have a good experience with your parent.
Dementia can be extremely difficult for both the patient and the family. However, the disease should not dissuade you from engaging in exciting activities with your parent. Use these tips as a guide the next time you decide to plan an outing.