In the early days, I had some lovely outings with my parents which provided some cherished memories. My Dad loves the beach and on the day pictured, he went for a little jog on the beach. He felt so free. I’m so grateful for those outings and the memories they produced.
As the time progressed it became more and more tricky to go out. I kept thinking I should take them out so they could have that free feeling, however as the dementia worsened, they would want to get back to familiar surroundings quite quickly. They would easily get confused and mixed up with what was going on. I began to see it was more my guilt that wanted to take them out rather than what was best for them and what they wanted – familiarity and to feel safe and secure.
One time I decided to bring them to my place overnight. The night was really tough as Mum was up for the bathroom every hour on the hour. As they were upstairs, I had to get up to make sure she didn’t walk the wrong way and fall down the stairs. I then overheard Mum the next day say to Dad, ‘I wish we were back home – I don’t know where we are. I don’t know where anything is’. My heart and intentions were in the right place but I misjudged the reality of the stage.
From my experience, I would suggest to take them out and create memories when you can. And to proactively gauge the season and stage to know when and where to go, and when it is no longer helpful to go anywhere.
What are your experiences and cherished memories going out with your loved one?