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My 84 year old mother lives with me and my wife. Thank God we have adult day care support during the week, since I work, and my wife needs the break during the days. On one of the weekends once or twice a month, I try to take my mother on an extended day trip driving 2 hours or so away, and it seems to be better for her than a short trip and sitting around in the living room with her AZ confusion all day. Has anyone else had this experience? Are there are pros or cons with such day trips versus being confused in the house? Clearly as the winter weather gets worse, it will be harder to do.

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Oh yeah, you asked a question there. Sorry about that. My only helpful hints would be her creature comforts. Little snack sized cookies or goldfish, a plastic tumbler to drink out of because she doesn't like drinking from a bottle or with a straw, a sweater for the air conditioning, a lap quilt for the same reason, a pair of sunglasses perhaps. Do you drive two hours out and then two hours back or what. Are you visiting anyone during the drive? Does she remember the drives when you return home? Photos are nice if they don't frustrate her. Can she enjoy music during the drive? Do you converse or is it pretty quiet. During the years of my MIL's dementia, we have been through a wide range of abilities. Now she sleeps most of the time, is content to sit in her chair and read the Bible, comes to the table to eat or play cards or dominoes, but no longer will participate in many family activities. Doesn't want to go outside, doesn't want to be with large groups of people, doesn't want to walk much even with a walker (knees and hips hurt a lot), can no longer help in the kitchen or with cleaning. Enjoy your mother's level while she's there, because you never know what's ahead.
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I think it is just great that you have found something that works, even if it doesn't work for much longer. We now deal with arthritic knees and hips and so getting in and out of the car - any car - is such an ordeal for her. She has a two times tolerance and then she starts really wanting to go home. We went to the state fair in October and she did really well until we got to the auto show and began getting in and out of cars. She finally said she wanted to get in too, because she was ready to go home! She used to really enjoy the fair, now she doesn't care, she just sits there in her wheelchair and tolerates it. I think the crowds just confuse her these days. Sometimes we ride around in the country but she just looks straight ahead and doesn't respond when we comment. Of course, we have to get her attention first, and she's hard of hearing so it's frustrating and she usually misses whatever we saw. She's really in her own little world most of the time. I like the idea of the garden shop/nursery. Hadn't thought of that. She wouldn't care about buying one or planting anything but she appreciates the colors. Sense of smell is long gone. Thanks for the idea, Jeanne.
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jeffrey20832, if Mom already using an adult day health facility you know how valuable that is! I think that your weekend outings give her a new experience and also time with you. In my mind, those are both extremely valuable! I love that you've learned to know where you can find a clean bathroom at all times! :)

You will be able to tell when the outings become too much for her, and when she would be better off in familiar surroundings and a standard routine. Then make the trips shorter or stop them altogether. These outings are good for your wife, for you, and for Mom. I hope you will continue them as long as you can.

A nice destination in nasty weather is a plant nursery. My mother loved being wheeled up and down aisles and aisles of green plants and flowering plants and birdhouses and joyous garden things. And she loved picking out a small plant to buy. My husband loved the local conservatory with its tropical plants and serene feeling. He liked it for decades and when he got dementia he continued to enjoy it.

Winter scenery has its own special charm, but those of us in a harsh winter climate need the respite of blooming plants a few times in that season!

The only tip I can share is to take pictures on your outings. That will give Mom a chance to re-enjoy the trips between outings.
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Ive wondered the same thing. Sometimes I think getting her out creates more confusion for my mom. She lives with me and I try and get her out on the weekends but often times when we get back she has trouble reorienting herself to the house again. I keep doing it because I feel better that shes out and about and not sitting in her chair all the time.
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The adult day center is a great idea, if they open on the weekends. If not, you might try them during the week so your wife can take a break. If that's not possible, you might look into hiring a person to come and stay with her so you and your wife could take a road trip once in awhile.

I haven't driven more than an hour with my cousin. She's in pullups and bathroom issues have not come up. As long as we keep riding, my cousin wouldn't know if we were in the same area or not, so I could just drive for 30 minutes and circle around a couple of times and return. I guess it's just the calm of the road, the trees, etc. that relaxes her.
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Day trips! How about daycare centers? My friend use to have her Mom stay Friday, satu and Sunday at a nursing home facility to give herself a break. Her mother was loving but my friend still needed the break.
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Yes my wife is usually enjoying some peace and quiet at home. I am just wondering if anyone else has had such experience, and what lessons they learned. My number one lesson is to always know where there is a McDonalds or fast-food restaurant with a bathroom within 15-30 minutes. I have a GPS and I mark them along the way.
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Does your wife go with you on these day trips? If it's working for you, then great, but I wonder if your wife may feel a little left out if she's left at home every time.. OR perhaps she likes the time to have her privacy and alone time. I might just discuss that with her and see which she prefers. She might use the time to spend time with friends, read or relax.

I have noticed that at times my loved one is quite content on a long drive. She especially likes riding in the country. She wouldn't do well in traffic, but country riding seems to relax her and remind her of her childhood.

Is there some reason you don't feel comfortable taking you mom on these day trips? If it seems to help your mom, then I don't see the downside.
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