Summer Tips for Those With Dementia
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Summer is perfect for outdoor cookouts, picnics, parties, and more fun. Many families love spending time outdoors together, enjoying good food and warm weather. However, the outdoor fun can be challenging for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In America, there are 5.7 million people living with Alzheimer’s and more than 15 million people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. In Indiana alone, there are 110,000 people living with Alzheimer’s.
It can be challenging to incorporate someone with dementia into your summer plans and outdoor events. The Alzheimer’s Association has some tips that can help families to plan, adjust their expectations, and have an enjoyable summer with everyone in the family:
Tell people. Make sure your extended family and friends know that this person has dementia. Let them know what to expect and how they can help – such as activities they can do with the person and how to best communicate with them. Rather than having group conversations, try engaging the person with dementia one-on-one.
Involve the person with dementia. Keep the person with dementia involved in the activities and conversation. Avoid isolating him/her. Depending on his/her abilities and preferences, he/she may be able to help with the planning and set up.
Be flexible. Some situations may be less stressful to a person with dementia than others. If evenings are more difficult for the person with dementia, consider having your event earlier in the afternoon. If you are attending an event, you may arrive earlier when there are less people.
Plan ahead. If you are attending a gathering, talk to the host beforehand for any special needs. For example, the person with dementia may need a quiet room he/she can retire to when tired or worn out from the noise and distractions.
Adapt your summer holidays. Some holidays such as Memorial Day and the 4th of July can be exceptionally challenging due to the loud noises and large crowds. Be adaptable by celebrating these holidays in different ways, such as watching fireworks from indoors or watching the parades on TV.
Adjust your expectations. You may have many summer traditions with your family that you enjoy. Rather than expecting these traditions to remain exactly how they were before a dementia diagnosis, be open to doing less or delegating more. Save your energy for spending quality time with friends and family.