How Getting Outside Helps Your Loved Ones with Dementia
If you have a loved one living with dementia, you want them to be protected and well cared for. Unfortunately for them, this often means spending a lot of time indoors where routine and safety are easily managed. As a Memory Care provider in Golden, Colorado, we see this often in families who are caring for loved ones on their own.
However, for those living with dementia, increased time spent indoors is a major contributor to feelings of isolation and loneliness. In fact, a 2012 Alzheimer’s Society report showed that over 60% of people with dementia experienced frequent feelings of loneliness.
The Benefits of Outside Activity for Loved Ones with Dementia
We are a trusted dementia facility in Colorado in part because we understand that outdoor activity allows adults with dementia to reconnect with the world around them and feel in control of their lives again. In fact, studies have found that there are numerous psychological benefits to going outdoors. This is true for everyone, but for those with dementia, it can mean the difference between a bad day and a great one.
It’s clear that maintaining outdoor activities contributes to a better quality of life for seniors with dementia. If you are looking for senior living in Colorado, make sure you choose a facility with caring personnel that understands the psychological benefits of being outdoors. These include:
- Improved sleep and reduced restlessness
- Reduced aggression and agitation
- Increased verbal expression
- Improved mood
- Reduced stress levels
- Greater awareness
- A stronger sense of self-worth
Going outside is also an opportunity to socialize, decreasing feelings of isolation and leading to a greater sense of belonging. Being out in the community leads to conversations with neighbors or strangers, creating and strengthening friendships and helping your loved one realize that they have a place in the world.
Taking Your Loved One with Dementia Outdoors
As Alzheimer’s Society points out, taking walks and running small errands provide opportunities to socialize and interact with the world. Start small with a ten-minute walk around the block. Before leaving, have a checklist to make sure comfort and safety are addressed.
- Are they wearing comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing?
- Do they have their ID?
- Do they need to use the bathroom first?
- Do they need sunglasses or an umbrella?
- Do you have your phone?
Once the short trip has gone well, plan a longer one. Walk to a favorite store, spend time together doing some gardening, or plan a picnic at a local park. Or just sit outside with a cold drink on a sunny day. Not every outing needs to be a grand adventure.
Finally, always be willing to ask for support. The positive impact of being in nature on loved ones with dementia can’t be overstated, but you don’t need to take on the full burden. Encourage friends and family to help. And if you are looking for a quality memory care facility, make sure they understand the benefits of being outdoors.