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How to enjoy special occasions with a loved one with dementia

Taking your loved one out of their residential aged care home for the day will always be less stressful if you have a structured plan, with clearly defined carer roles.

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22 December 2022

Stories | Aged Care Homes

How to enjoy special occasions with a loved one with dementia

Taking your loved one out for the day will always be less stressful if you have a structured plan, with clearly defined carer roles.

Make sure you’ve got a clear plan for the day

If you’re taking your loved one out of a residential aged care home for the day, ensure that you discuss and plan the occasion with the rest of your family in advance. Talk about who will manage certain caregiving roles for your loved one and agree together on what’s best.

You might like to plan where your loved one will be seated, for example, and ensure they have a comfy nook set up in advance where they can see everything that’s going on.

Consider how long you should plan to be out, keeping in mind the times of day your loved one feels at their best.

Does your family member need to take medications at certain times of the day? Ensure you have reminders in place so that they don’t fall out of step with their routine.

Lastly, think about the environment where the occasion is taking place – try and plan for a quiet area where your loved one can rest and take a break if the celebrations become overwhelming.

Prepare ahead of time

If your loved one lives in residential care, be sure to let the home’s Manager know your plans well in advance, so they can roster staff to assist you during pick up and drop off.

If mobility difficulties mean that a disabled taxi and/or wheelchair are required, ensure you book long before the day to make sure that they are available.

Plan ahead for any incontinence issues your loved one may experience during the day and ensure there are adequate measures in place to avoid accidents. Try to discuss this with your family member’s healthcare team in advance for the best way to manage this.

Including your loved one with dementia at special occasions can be a wonderful experience for all, and well worth the effort involved.

Setting off

If you’re picking up your loved one from residential aged care, be sure to see the staff before you go, and remember to sign your family member out when leaving.

The care team will let you know anything that you need to take with you, such as spare clothes, continence products, or medications.

The event itself

It’s important that you stay calm throughout the event. Be relaxed in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can to ensure the event is a success, and even if it doesn’t go completely according to plan – it’s unlikely the consequences will be dire.

Maintain realistic expectations of your loved one - and yourself! For example, don’t take it too personally if they don’t seem to appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to, or if they don’t look like they’re enjoying themselves.

Try to include your loved one in the activities to their level of ability. You could play their favourite music to help them remember old times, or you could talk to them about past celebrations and traditions they used to enjoy.

Sometimes, your loved one might get fulfillment out of just watching what’s happening.

Remember to keep calm and to enjoy the day!

Coming home

If you’re bringing your family member back to residential aged care, remember you can bring them home at any time – just let the staff know in advance what time to expect you.

It can sometimes be hard to leave once you bring your loved one back and they may seem agitated or upset when you leave. This is normal, and care staff are trained and skilled to help the person settle back in once you leave.

You can help by leaving a little message in a card for your loved one with the staff, and quietly saying goodbye. If you have difficulty leaving, just let staff know, and they can support you.

You are always welcome to ring the home later and check in on your loved one. Usually, they settle very quickly after you have left.

BaptistCare aged care staff can help your loved one settle back in when they return to the home.

Find a residential aged care home near you

If your elderly loved one is struggling to live independently even with support measures in place, perhaps you’re wondering when they will need to move into residential aged care. You might like to read our informative article on seven ways to know it’s time.

Alternatively, we’d be happy to talk with you about your loved one’s individual care needs. We can show you around a care home near you and tell you about our day-to-day activities for residents, so you can decide whether it’s right for your family now – or in the future.

Use our simple online search tool to explore BaptistCare Aged Care Home locations across New South Wales and the ACT.

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If you would like to know more, please contact us on 1300 275 227 or complete the enquiry form and one of our customer representatives will be in touch.