When the weather is nice and summer comes back around, it can be exciting for anyone who looks forward to spending some time outdoors, going on vacation or even taking advantage of everything going on in their local community. For caregivers of a loved one with dementia, however, it can be a time of stress and confusion. While they want to go outdoors and enjoy the summertime with their loved one, they may be worried about them wandering off, be concerned as to what activities they can handle and unsure how to act if a dementia-related behavior were to occur. Many times, this can cause caregivers to stay close to home and remain indoors, not spending too much time outside with their loved one. Unfortunately, this means that they, as well as their loved ones, are unable to soak up the numerous benefits time outdoors can provide them.
According to Cydney Hansen, Marketing Director, at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA, spending time outdoors with your loved one doesn’t have to be stressful. “It’s important to take it slow and consider what activities you’ll be doing,” says Cydney. “It’s easy to find things to do during the week, and some museums, local attractions and more even have designated days for seniors with dementia to go. If possible, try to find these activities or visit a local memory care community to see if they have programming they would enjoy participating in. If you want to take your loved one to a fair or carnival, but fear they may become agitated or afraid, take it slow and keep a close eye on them. If you notice signs they may wander, it’s a good idea to leave and try again another time. Fear of how your loved one will behave shouldn’t stop you from enjoying summertime and soaking up the benefits that going outdoors can have, it just may mean you need to be a bit more creative in your approach. Try a few activities and see how your loved one reacts, discover what works, what doesn’t and how to tweak the activity so you can both enjoy this summer together.”
Benefits of spending time outside with those with dementia
We know that the sunshine provides benefits, such as Vitamin D, that are good for us, but for those with dementia, the benefits can be even greater. Consider some of the following benefits that could make your loved one’s days brighter and your days smoother.
- Natural mood boost. Taking your loved one outside has a tendency to reduce agitation and aggression, increase feelings of confidence and allow them to feel more independent, especially if you didn’t go outside much before. This can make your loved one feel happier, decrease their risk of depression and reduce their negative behaviors.
- Improved exercise. When going outdoors, it’s no secret that there’s an increase in activity. Whether you are walking around the yard, going for a swim or even tending to the garden, the benefits it can have on the body are numerous.
- Opportunities to socialize. When spending time outdoors, seniors with dementia tend to feel a greater sense of belonging and friendship. This can be because they see more animals and people to talk to or because they feel as though they are out in the community. If you find that outdoor activities make your loved one more social and likely to talk to others, strive to take them out more as this can decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Enhanced sleep. When it’s been a busy day and your loved one got plenty of exercise, it’s likely they’ll sleep better. It’s also more likely that they will sleep better if you go outdoors in the early morning when the sun it out as it can get their circadian rhythm into sync with the sun, making them more awake in the morning and relaxed in the evening.
Not only can being outdoors provide extensive benefits to your loved one with dementia, but it can provide plenty for you, as well. Aside from the extra exercise you also receive and your own sleep and mood benefits, going outdoors can prevent you from feeling cooped up, lessen your chances of feeling burnt out and help you feel like you are providing your loved one with the lifestyle and care they really deserve.
For more information or to learn more about how the outdoors can benefit your loved one, contact the team at CountryHouse at Granite Bay. We would be happy to share more activities to try, helpful advice to keep your loved one safe and the support you need to ensure a successful summer outing. Give us a call today at 916•850•2774.
Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.
CountryHouse at Granite Bay is the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.
At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes to their values and their pasts, in order to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.
With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!
Connect with us today or call us at 916•850•2774 for more information or to schedule a visit.
CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.