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My mother was diagnosed with dementia about 2 years ago. I quit my job to stay home and take care of her which is something i chose to do. Little did i know how awful this disease can be. It seems that if we stay at home (familiar surroundings) she doesn't seem to act out or have major delusions. However if we go out, even to the grocery store, etc. by that evening she goes into full delusion mode. Searching the house for unknown objects, asking where her mom and dad are (they passed away 25 and 45 years ago) and she becomes very upset. My question is, should i not take her anywhere? She always wants to go places and enjoys herself while there but the evenings are always a mess. It is also nice that I get a chance to go out even if I have to take her with me but I'm not sure its good for her and I don't want to cause her undue stress/harm. I would value your opinion! We have the opportunity to get Disneyland passes and would go all the time. I think my mom would love it but again, I don't want to make her evenings more difficult for her.

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My Grandmother who has vascular and Lewy Bodies w/dementia loves going out. But I'm very careful where I take her and for how long. Short trips are best and I look for places that don't have a lot of people. She gets overstimulated very easily now. She loves riding in the car, so we will sometimes go pick up McDonalds (her favourite) and go down to the park. However, we don't always get out of the car. We find a nice spot and roll down the windows where she can get fresh air as well as hear the kids playing, she can watch from the car while she eats and it doesn't overstimulate her. She loves to go shopping, so I've found a couple places that are similar to antique stores. We have a place here that is basically an indoor marketplace, it's usually practically empty on the weekdays, so I will take her there. That way, she gets to shop without a crowd of people. I also found a couple smaller restaurants so we will sometimes go out to eat with my brother. She calls it a date :D I also take her to the Farmer's Market at times, but I'm careful with that because it's a place that can sometimes be filled with lots of noise and people. She likes to reach out to people, tells everyone she loves them, she's very social, so I like to be careful with where we go :)
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Thank you EVERYONE for your feedback. I really appreciate it and I can't tell you how much it helped.
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My mom has dementia but loves to get out. When I visit, I assess her state of mind to determine where we go. If we go to a store, that is it for the day and I keep it short and personal for her - in other words, she leads the way for the shopping and I follow her lead (I don't shop for myself during this time). We do more in the mornings and go to restaurants in off times (early dinner (3 pm)), etc. I also get her out by just walking around the neighborhood or going out on drives together and try to take her to the same old places or landmarks she can reminisce about. I try not to schedule more than one activity a day. We've also gone to lovely gardens or nature areas where we might just sit on a bench for a change of scenery. I feel that is all she needs to get her out of the house, but I don't do too much stimulation anymore. I used to think it was stimulating for her; but I realized it was too much stimulation.
Agree, Disney for you; not your mom.
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I agree with most of the people on this post. Taking your mom out can be good for her with short distances that are free of distraction and noise. Disney is totally out the question. My dad would enjoy the fresh air when we would go for a walk. It serves two points, you spending quality time and the senior getting some Vitamin D through sunshine.
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You are supposed to take them out earlier in the day so they don't become fatigued. Also with the sundowning you should keep the blinds open and let in as much light as you can during the day. They should go out even if it's for a little walk each day for exercise. They can't seem to unwind if you get them out later in the day and as the day progresses they get more confused. So definitely take her out but do it earlier.
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I would take her places. She enjoys them. Avoid letting her get too tired or stimulated. Even at Disneyland, you can create a less stimulating situation by advanced planning. Choose a time and date when school is still in session. Scope out where you can sit with her or have a meal without a lot of fuss. It may be best to go out during the day to more quiet places and on days and times of the day when stores and other places are less busy.
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Perhaps a trip to a nice quiet park where you could walk/sit and watch kids at play. Being in nature usually has a calming effect. Maybe bring lunch and eat there too.
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I'm on board with the comments posted so far. First, good for you for helping Mom. My parents both have dementia, and do surprisingly well as long as they are at home. They are OK going to the doctor, because that is familiar to them and is close by. Dad likes to go for rides in the car, but we've had a few occasions when at the end of a ride he directed me to drop him off at his office, where he hasn't worked in over 20 years. He would get confused and think we had just gone out for lunch and he had to get back to work. (We used to do that back in the day.) So I take Dad with me sometimes when I run errands. He mostly sits in the car. Mom needs to stay close to home or she gets fearful.

I'm familiar with Sundowner Syndrome from caring for other elderly relatives. With my mother-in-law the doc gave us low-dose Ativan to give her if she got too agitated, and that worked well.
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My experience with my Mom,who has Dementia,would have to tell you not to go.
Sometimes we think they would enjoy something,when in fact it is more confusing and more stressful on yourself. As a caregiver,I would advise you to go without her and YOU enjoy yourself. If a trip to a grocer leaves her delusional,then you can only imagine what noise and crowds would do to her.
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My mother with dementia, though not as progressive as your mother's, had to get out of the house daily and enjoyed rides in the car. The more remote and rural the scenery the better...away from sirens, strangers, a fast pace and fears/worries. She would do okay with other activities as well, but in smaller and quieter environments. She was fine going to doc offices, calm restaurants, and family gatherings. Going to a grocery/department store or mall, arena or traveling a multi-lane highway or interstate...were too much. With her, I think, it was the pace or intensity of her surroundings and the amount of time spent there, that effected her the most.

By, all means do things with your mother. Get both of you out of the house. Go on a journey together! Just choose wisely where you go.
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Her past behavior should be a clue that being in a crowd upsets her. Do not take her into crowds! This is very upsetting to people with dementia. Keep it the same environment so she feels safe and do not take her to Disneyland. This would be so confusing for her and she would be so stressed. If you need a break, get a caregiver for her while you go out, but keep her surroundings familiar at all times. A ride might be okay, but no crowds!
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Sundowning is typical not only with dementia but elderly who are taken out of their usual environment. There is medication for sundowning that will make a huge difference for the late afternoon (which is when it begins) through the evening and into the night. check with your geriatric ppc. My dad had Lewy Body Dementia and total body atrophy and has to sleep in a hospital bed in the living room. He experienced sundowning with that change and was agitated and kept my sister and mom, who is also in early stages of dementia (primary caregivers) up al night. Check out the medication, it made a huge difference. As for Disney, no, use that time for yourself with a friend or your kids as a respite time...you are going to need it. Good luck!
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i am concerned that the effects of being a shut in could be effecgting you as the primary caregiver
one important elelment to consider is your own well being
anyone with dementia requires constant observation- especially on an outing
start including her in outings is a positive step for both of you
bravo!!!
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You should go to Disneyland without your mother. It sounds like she's most comfortable at home and so, given her mental state, why take her to where she's uncomfortable? Even though she may adjust, there's very little point to 'upsetting the apple cart' for someone with dementia. It may make us feel better to be getting them out from time to time, but we're just projecting what would be good for us and that's very different from what's good for them. In their world, even very familiar things are quickly becoming unfamiliar and confusing, so imagine the stress of going somewhere that actually is strange to them.
I repeat, go to Disneyland without your Mom. Go regularly! Bring someone in to stay with Mom and you go blow off some steam and enjoy yourself. The adjustment to a new, occasional caregiver would be nothing compared to the adjustment for her of feeling adrift in really unfamiliar surroundings.
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Sundowning is definitely a problem and medication can definitely help. However, it has also been my experience with my husband that fatigue makes the difficult behavior a lot worse.
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I agree that the problems in the evening might be due to fatigue, but there is something called "sundowning" that you should look into (just try Googling it). It's a condition that occurs in the evening with dementia patients. It can be very scary. Your Mom may need some meds to help with the delusions and acting out, but I think the first step is to make the outings short and sweet...I'd say Disneyland is out for sure. WAY to much stimulation for her...all the noise/confusion, etc., could really do her harm and make your evening a very bad nightmare! Too many unfamiliar sights, sounds, faces, voices, etc., If she already has delusions after going to the grocery store, I can't imagine what would happen after a day at Disneyland! Think of a 5-year old on a sugar high with no sleep! WOW! Getting out and about is certainly important, but making the outings "dementia friendly" is critical for both of your sakes!
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It is good for your mother to get out but she might then need more of a nap because she gets tired. I would, however, definitely avoid something like Disneyland which is an all day event that is exhausting even for people who are young and well.
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It was not a problem taking my mother-in-law who had Dementia out, but if it is causing problems for your mom - I'd suggest you be selective as to when you took her out. IMO, I would take her out once in a while because I feel it's good for them to see the outside world and get some fresh air sometimes. And I'm not sure about Disneyland as I think that may be too much excitement. But only you know how bad it is for her in the evenings and worth the trips. Maybe pay attention and see if only certain places bother her? Good luck!!
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