Tips for Taking a Parent With Dementia on a Picnic

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You want to take your dad out for a nice afternoon picnic, but he has dementia. While a family picnic is going to be more challenging, it’s not impossible. Follow these tips for a fun day out.

Carefully Choose Your Location

Dementia comes with many symptoms. One thing you may notice is that your dad cannot sit still. He sits down and is back up and pacing around in a matter of minutes. He starts cleaning the kitchen, forgets what he’s doing, and goes to do laundry instead. Sitting still seems impossible for him.

When you’re on a picnic, he’s not likely to sit still. You’ll need eyes on him all the time. The area is not likely to be familiar to him, so he could get lost. Picking a park with a fenced in picnic area helps prevent him from wandering off. A smaller, less crowded park is ideal. If you go to a busier park or zoo, he may get lost in the crowd, which makes it harder to locate him.

Pack Snacks and Finger Foods Rather Than Whole Meals

Most patients with dementia don’t eat big meals. They snack throughout the day. Finger foods are often the first food a person with dementia chooses. Pack finger sandwiches, vegetables with a dipping sauce, fresh fruit, and other smaller items. Make sure anything perishable is packed in ice.

Slather on the Sunscreen

Many medications taken by the elderly increase sensitivity to the sun. These medications include antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, heart medications, and pain relievers. Make sure your dad is covered in sunscreen and has a seat in the shade. Even if he’s not on a medication that increases the sunburn risk, the elderly are prone to heat exhaustion and should be monitored carefully.

Stay Hydrated

Your dad needs plenty of water when he’s outside in the sun. Keep large bottles of water handy and refill it often. If he doesn’t seem interested in drinking plain water, adding frozen fruit or slices of lemon and lime may make it more appealing.

An extra person can be a huge help when taking your dad on a picnic. Caregivers not only provide companionship, but they also have training helping keep your dad calm. Elder care professionals offer many dementia care services like meal preparation, cleaning, bathing, and grooming.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Loudoun, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.