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Your tips: how to encourage someone to get out and about

HarrietD

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 29, 2014
5,521
London
Every issue our magazine includes real life experiences, and they want to hear from you. For their April/May issue, they're asking: what advice would you give about dealing with things that discourage a person with dementia from getting out and about?

Examples of this can include:
  • Feeling such as anxiety or apathy
  • Physical difficulties (e.g. mobility issues) that make it hard to get out
Please feel free to add your comments below, and they may be featured in the next issue of the magazine.

Thanks everyone :)
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,793
Bristol
My partner does get a bit anxious about going out sometimes. Cars getting too close or playing loud music scare her easily. So far, a bit of gentle reassurance and humour get her out two or three times a week, but I know it will get harder.
For mobility issues which are also related to arthritis she accepted a wheelchair early last year. That makes life easier, as even getting on and off of chairs at cafes or restaurants was getting hard. She is slowly losing confidence getting in and out of the car and on and off the chair, so patience is needed. Once she is on the chair though life is so much easier for both of us.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,343
Nottinghamshire
My dad wasn’t keen to walk as it became more difficult for him but a wheeled walker helped with his mobility. I decided on getting the walker after seeing how fast he could disappear with a supermarket trolley!

Later on, as his confidence and mobility decreased, I found I could get him out for a short walk if lunch was included in the deal. My waistline suffered though...I’m still working on that!
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,660
For Aged Mother in her own words “I will leave this house in a box when they carry me out!”

no matter how much I cajole she’s not going to socialise - so I have sadly accepted that
& I’m now reconciled to her isolation

That’s why the carers going in 4 times a day, the cleaner/ window cleaner/gardener all doing a couple of hours once a week or fortnight are how I can feel comfortable with her choices. Sadly she finds processing conversations hard as she declines but that’s fluctuating from day to day.
it saddens me but I have done my very best & on the rare occasions winkle her out it now takes two people, the decline is obvious & that leads to my heart breaking all over again

Dementia is that unwanted gift that just keeps giving !!!

I struggled for a decade my lovely & now this last part of Mums life leaves me sometimes yearning for that spark of obtuse stubborn denial - damn those rose tinted glasses!
until I reread old posts & see how far we have progressed
Hindsight - what they say about you is so true....
X
 

Cdj0512

New member
Mar 4, 2020
7
This may be specific to my dad and not others but when his alxheimers worsened he became very apathetic and sedentary

Ironically howwver he developed an ability to hyper focus on small things. He became obsessed with bird watching and has remarkable vision, seeing a tiny pink house on a hillside 20 miles away, or identifying birds in distance that normal eye doesn't notice

I am convinced this is an alzheimers trait.. Eg, perhaps as the cognitive ability to grasp large concspts or complex intangible thoughts diminishes, a person becomes more able to hyper-focus on tangible simple things immediately around them.

Plwase comment if you are or kmow someone who took up detail intensive hobbies as alxheimers worsened such as bird watching etc

Anyway my advice on motivating your 'cared for' to get out and do things is to suggest an activity thAt engages their senses and is not demanding of any conversation or thinking

Recent days out my dad was ecstatic to. Leave tje house for-
Wildlife farm (visual sense is totally engaged)
Butterfly zoo ( visual sense is totally engaged)
Birds of prey show (eagles swooping etc visual)
Choir or classical music event (auditory fully engaged)
Swimming (tactile senses engaged)
In my opinkon based on my experience with my dad only... Anything thats too. Intellectually demanding is tiring and may also remind someone of how bad thwir memory etc is... So my dad will Disengage and dislike outings like:

Long lunches non stop talking
Loud places wjwre more than 1 sense is stimulated eg gym, mall, bar
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,383
cornwall
My dad used to love to go out but will only go out now once a month.. if that. He gets car sick now so it’s small journeys to the supermarket in a wheelchair and wheelchair taxi. He goes with a carer as I can no longer take him due to my own ill health. Alongside his declining heath is the mantra”I cannot be bothered “! He has now come to the apathetic stage and no longer cares. It is very difficult so I’m afraid he gets entertained at home with music etc.
 

LindaHill

New member
Apr 3, 2020
1
My hubby has Mixed Dementia, and is increasing just sitting and watching TV. He does very little in the house, but happily makes a cup of tea. He has had Dementia for 2/3 years or so. He walks slow, but, I say because of his COPD, he needs to strengthen his lungs! So thank goodness the Government has recommended a walk once a day. He is looking for wildlife when we go out and birds in trees. He is happier when we get home. He has a cup of tea and a biscuit. I love being with him outside. I hope this helps couples.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,293
Merseyside
My hubby has Mixed Dementia, and is increasing just sitting and watching TV. He does very little in the house, but happily makes a cup of tea. He has had Dementia for 2/3 years or so. He walks slow, but, I say because of his COPD, he needs to strengthen his lungs! So thank goodness the Government has recommended a walk once a day. He is looking for wildlife when we go out and birds in trees. He is happier when we get home. He has a cup of tea and a biscuit. I love being with him outside. I hope this helps couples.
Welcome to DTP @LindaHill
I‘m glad you’re getting out for some fresh air & exercise. Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of support here.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,361
I think it's important to keep Mum mobile for as long as possible, for her benefit (and ours). She never has the idea to 'go out' so we prompt and then it's coats on.
Either we go out with a destination in mind, down to the seafront, shop's, National Trusting; sometimes we take sandwiches and a flask or treat ourselves to lunch out.

Other days OH or I walk her from the house and because we have taken mum out regularly, she is able to keep track of the season's and what is growing in neighbours gardens and there's usually someone to say hello to. Mum doesn't walk far but having a change of scene is beneficial, so we will keep taking her for as long as possible.
 

Mousehill

Registered User
Nov 28, 2018
69
Mum used to enjoy trips out and we had a nominated day for our little trips. She has a lightweight wheelchair that I can easily lift in and out of the car. For the past few weeks though, she's become afraid of going down the steps from the door and realistically, to be safe, it would need 2 people. The carers aren't prepared to do it because they see it as too much of a risk and I have nobody at home with me when I'm there who can help.

When we did go out, we found a lovely garden centre, which was set up perfectly for wheelchairs and had a lovely cafe where mum could get a children's meal with little bits of everything, but nothing hard to chew or swallow. The tricky bit was always getting her in a state of mind where she wanted to go out. Once she got into the car and we were off, she couldn't stop smiling and really enjoyed herself.

The 2 trips that weren't so successful were when we went alongside water. Although we were well away from the edge, her sense of perception and fear seemed to go haywire and she spent the whole time convinced she was going to fall in!