Helping your loved one cope with the changes brought on by Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can be challenging. However, just because your family member has dementia doesn’t mean you should stay at home! It’s possible to enjoy dementia-friendly activities that are engaging — but not overwhelming — for your loved one. Plus, helping your loved one stay connected with activities they enjoy is a great way to spend quality time together.
4 Tips for a Successful Outing with Your Loved One
You can still enjoy meaningful activities together, and being prepared to handle challenges along the way can help. Here are some tips to help you plan a dementia-friendly outing with your loved one:
- Choose familiar places to visit. Your loved one may find comfort in seeing familiar places and knowing what to expect when they’re out and about. In some cases, they might enjoy returning to familiar locations even more than discovering new ones.
- Map out your route. Plan for a low-stress outing by mapping out where you’ll be going and deciding where you’ll park in advance. You may want to scope out the location to determine if there are clear walking paths and/or wheelchair-accessible areas.
- Visit during off-peak hours. Try to plan your visit during less busy times (e.g., a weekday instead of a weekend or an early morning visit). Check the hours of operation and choose off-peak hours to avoid the challenges of navigating crowds. If possible, call the organization to ask for advice or use Google Maps to estimate peak hours and plan the best time to go.
- Stay on a schedule. Planning outings around your loved one’s meal times and bedtime routines can help minimize confusion and keep them on schedule. Shorter outings are usually best for someone with dementia, and it’s important to have down time afterward to help them relax and unwind.
Dementia-Friendly Activities in Newport News
From visiting the Mariner’s Museum or Virginia Living Museum during off-peak hours to the Wednesday farmers markets at City Center, there are lots of things you can still do around town with someone who has mild to moderate dementia. Here are a few ideas for fun things to do in Newport News:
City Center Farmers Market. Stop by the City Center Farmers Market on Wednesdays for seasonal farm-fresh produce, eggs, jams, local treats and more. Your loved one might be interested in exploring the sights and sounds of the market, especially if it’s a familiar experience you’ve enjoyed together in the past.
Historic Hilton Village. The unique architecture of Historic Hilton Village is a beautiful setting for unique, locally owned shops in the area. Taking a stroll through the historic district evokes a sense of nostalgia for the past, with a rich history of English cottage-style homes originally built to house wartime shipbuilders between 1918 and 1920.
Mariner’s Museum and Park. If your loved one enjoys maritime history, the Mariner’s Museum and Park has over 35,000 maritime artifacts, including ship models, paintings and small craft. The museum offers Friendly Hours every second Sunday of each month. Friendly Hours provides a tailored museum experience for visitors with mobility, cognitive or physical challenges who prefer a quieter and less crowded museum environment.
Noland Trail. Located within Mariner’s Museum and Park, the Noland Trail is an award-winning five-mile trail that’s free and open to the public. The trail is designed for people of all ages and abilities, with 17 benches located about a quarter-mile apart.
Virginia Living Museum. The Virginia Living Museum has something for everyone, combining the elements of a native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve and planetarium. Explore natural exhibits featuring 250 species of animals found in Virginia. For those with limited mobility or special needs who want to visit when the museum is less crowded, the museum suggests visiting mid- to late-morning or early Saturday morning.
Memory Care Offers Engaging Experiences and Opportunities to Enjoy Life Every Day
The Chesapeake is a caring community where your loved one with dementia will be safe and supported by a compassionate team. Our innovative approach to dementia care improves the lives of residents and their families by promoting dignity, independence and social connections. Contact us to learn more about our unique Cornerstone Memory Care program in Newport News, VA.