I remember thinking my LO might enjoy “lunch out” after going to an out of facility medical appointment when she’d been in her MC for 6 months.

Much to my surprise when I asked her if she’d like to get a sandwich atone of her previously favorite lunch spots, she quickly answered-

“No, not right now. Let’s just GO HOME”.

Although I was distressed at her lack of interest, I soon realized that it was a huge positive FOR HER to accept her very pleasant residential placement as HOME.

Although we can never really understand the thinking of a patient with dementia, we have to be careful when assuming we’re doing something to benefit
our LOs.

Sometimes out of love and memories, we have to step back and realize that we are planning because we love and miss them, but that carrying out those plans may not benefit them as much as we hope.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to AnnReid

I don’t think any time is appropriate for people who need MC to leave MC.

The routine there is important to a brain that is not working properly. The issues that qualify a person for MC do not improve.

Unless this is a doctor’s appointment, I would advise strongly against it.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to cxmoody
citymouse Jun 13, 2021
I agree. after living thru all the other posts of what happened when LO was taken out of the facility. I now go to her. I finally understand it was my last hold of life that was, not life that is. Losing a loved one to memory loss and personality loss is a slow walk down a lonely path.
See 1 more reply
I can see that cxmoody's response is correct, but it really hurts my heart to not take my mom for the rides she used to enjoy so much when she was in assisted living. I took her for a ride a few months ago, as they still refer to her at memory care as "high functioning" and they suggested it might be good for her to get out. The outing confused her more than inspiring her to look at the landscape and the farm animals, and not even the people were of interest when we got back to the city. She is a people and animal watcher, but what goes on inside the facility seems enough for her to handle now. Luckily, there are therapy dogs there and a very nice yard with a view of the mountains, so the yard is our outing space now. They are even bringing in a dentist to the facility now that covid restrictions are lightening up. However, I think it really depends on your wife's abilities. If it makes her happy to leave and see things going on outside the facility, then take her, but keep it very short at first to see how it goes.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to ArtistDaughter

My mom is not in memory care, but she sure qualifies.

During COVID, I TRIED to get her out a couple of times, but she was just so anxious and kind of terrified of everything. It was an epic fail and I don't try to do anything with her now.

We had a family wedding last week and YB took her to the all-day festivities. She was OK, but wanted to leave as soon as she got there. YB had told her she was either all in or all out--he's not her personal butler.

Now, other than 1 hr at Bingo once a week, she never leaves her apartment. Her memory is shot and she repeats her stories over and over again.

I'm sure some people could handle a day trip, or even a night's stay away, but I would be VERY careful how and where I took mom.

Are you thinking of doing this out of 'guilt' or does she really want a little adventure? Kind of a big difference. Don't let guilt push you into doing something that you can't handle.

Mom was absolutely exhausted by the two trips to wedding activities. She looked awful by 7 pm when the reception started---and she had only been away from home a total of 3 hrs.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Midkid58
BBS2019 Jun 9, 2021
Exactly my experience with my mom who's in memory care now. Any change or exposure to more than a couple people at once makes her very anxious. For the past several holidays, we had mom for dinner or took her to the family gathering. She did not want to eat much and wanted to go back as soon as she got there. We will not be taking her out again, it just doesn't benefit her and stresses me out as well.
When my mom was first in a nursing home (not MC, but she had dementia nonetheless), I took her out to lunch every week for about a month. It was clear she wasn't doing well with that, so I started bringing lunch to her and we'd eat at her place.

Eventually I moved her to a MC close to my house, and I intended to just bring her over to hang out with me during the day sometimes. It didn't happen once. She just got too anxious being outside of the familiar four walls of her place, even though she was very familiar with my house. It was the getting her there that was impossible to accomplish.

I learned that the best thing to do is to visit her in her surroundings, so that's what I've stuck with for two years now.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to MJ1929

Don’t take her out at all.

We tried to take my husband’s grandmother (dementia, in memory care) to lunch several times and it backfired. Grandmother would think we had all gone out of town. She got agitated, thinking we “won’t get home in time” and that she’d have no place to sleep tonight. Or she thought we were moving away and she’d be upset. She was in a single room but would be so disoriented that she couldn’t find her bathroom.

Please heed the others here. It may make you feel less guilty, but it is detrimental to her.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to LoopyLoo
Live247 Jun 13, 2021
Same thing for me when I once took my dad out for a scenic drive. He used to love driving around. "Where are you taking me? You're just going to drop me off on a street corner..." On and on it went. He didn't look at anything, just hollered at me. I couldn't get him back to his facility fast enough. He didn't even recognize it when we approached it or even when I parked in the parking lot next to the entry door. He was so full of anxiety and saying terrible things that I was full of anxiety. However, once he walked through the doors and was INSIDE the memory care unit, it was as if nothing had happened and he was transformed to his old self! It was amazing to witness, and in the simple act of walking through the doorway, he had no recollection of just being in the car. (Somewhere sometime I read something about doorways and dementia sufferers, that walking through a doorway is like a portal for them. If you think about it, it really is a portal into a different environment, but dementia sufferers are only aware of the "now" and not that they just walked from one room to another.) After that traumatizing experience for me, I did not take him anywhere ever again. Now I have my mom, who is suffering from different dementia, and she is fierce about not leaving her room, so I let her be.
It depends. My mom did not do well on short excursions. I had to stop them early on, when she was going to a day care center. When she went to memory care, it was obviously out of the question. After returning from outings, she was so terribly disoriented and agitated, it took hours to calm her down.

When I saw how difficult it was for mom, then thoughts turn to staff that had to find a way to help mom when they had other residents to take care of. Taking her out was not fair to anyone, especially mom!

You have a couple of other questions that have been posted. All have to do with taking her out of a living situation. All answers on each of those questions address how hard this will be for your wife. I am sorry you are "aloneagain" it is hard for you to experience this change in your wife. It has happened to many.

When my mom went to memory care, her husband went to assisted living in the same facility. Initially, he would take her to visit his apartment and out to lunch in the assisted living dining room. Very quickly he realized that even those short visits were harmful and disorienting, causing agitation, for mom. He had to stop. Instead he would dine with her in the memory care dining room. He got to see her and spend time with her. He even had to stop afternoon visits because of mom's sundowner syndrome.

Are you able to visit her in the facility? Visit with her there? Bring in a nice lunch?
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to gladimhere
Aloneagain Jun 9, 2021
Thank you. You're very kind. Yes, I'm just an eight minute drive away. I visit every morning and stay as long as the current Covid restrictions allow. All of the answers here have helped more than I have words. I realize now that I will have to make the best of each visit and bring the occasional lunch as you suggest. I suppose I will have to live in her world instead of trying to bring her into mine.
A change in any routine can be devastating, or it could have no effect at all.
I had the opposite concern. I had my Husband at home and I placed him in a Memory Care facility for Respite. I was going on a much needed vacation and I would be gone about 3 weeks. I was frightened that he would be unable to come back home. I had no worries at all when I picked him up and he got into the house he went to his recliner and sat down just like it was a normal day. I am sure it took him a while to settle in at the facility but it was also the same one I used for Day Care so they knew him, he "knew" them.

I think it depends on your wife.
It may depend on why you are taking her out.
For lunch and back, probably not a problem. Particularly if the facility takes them on outings on a routine basis.
Are you taking her to a function where there will be a lot of people? That might be a problem. Not so much the time factor but the many people, noise, confusion.
Are you taking her back "home"? That might upset her. Are you going to a hotel? That might confuse her. Strange room, strange noises and no real way to make sure she is secure and does not leave the room. (yes I know there are chains or bars but they are easy to undo)

If you do take her out be prepared to bring her back if she gets anxious.
If it is overnight to a function make sure that there is someone there that can care for her in a quiet area. Another room that is away from noise and confusion. I suggest hiring a caregiver or if possible one of the caregivers at the facility where she is so that your wife knows the person caring for her. Yes this means you will have to pay not just for the hours that the caregiver is with you but also travel expenses for another person.
(and make sure you bring all her medications and a bit extra. make sure you bring extra supplies briefs, gloves, ointments, and more clothes than you think you will need. Going for 3 days? pack for 4 or 5)

In most cases bringing your wife is for you and for whom ever the function is for NOT for your wife. She, in all likely hood will not participate, enjoy or recall the event. And she may not even recall who the event is for. (I am guessing a wedding or graduation)
I suggest you go. Have a good time. Bringing your wife you will not enjoy the event as fully as you should.
Bring pictures back to show your wife.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Grandma1954
Sarah3 Jun 13, 2021
I couldn’t disagree more with this strange idea that if he takes his wife with him it would be for him or for the people there but not for her. This is a really good example ( unfortunately)of the notion some people seem to catch almost like a bad virus that seniors are nothing more than small children and should be treated as such. Having cognitive decline does not and should not mean they are treated as less than a person. The irony in all of this is that one of the best protective factors mentally for those w dementia is remaining in the meaningful familiar environment of their own home ( therefore no need to place quotation marks around the word home) especially if they’ve lived there many years and have a lot of life events and memories there
See 3 more replies
Well, I will tell you this as someone with first hand experience having a 94 y/o mother with moderately advanced dementia who lives in Memory Care Assisted Living for the past 2 years. If I take her home to my house, she is ready to leave almost immediately; she is anxiety ridden beyond belief thinking she needs to get 'back home' and begins making preparations to leave right away. She worries about if she'll need to use my bathroom and how to manage it (she is wheelchair bound); she cannot eat properly b/c she has lost her fine motor skills so she drops the fork on the floor about a dozen times and then has a meltdown over it each time. She feels like she is being put on the spot and has to 'act' a certain way. It's a terrible ordeal for HER. She gets so horribly confused that it takes her 2 or 3 days to simmer down from an outing to my house. We do NOT take her here anymore at all; it's way too much for HER to bear, in reality. We go visit her at the MC; then there are no meltdowns, no anxiety, no nothing. We take food over there and have a 'family dinner' in the library if we want to; we bring Christmas Day to HER.

When my mother was suffering from mild to moderate dementia, we were able to bring her out to dinner and to our home, etc. We noticed she started getting quite anxiety ridden as time went by, however. As the dementia progressed to the advanced stages, that is when taking her out of her familiar surroundings became undoable.

Dementia wreaks havoc on a person's mind which is why they're in Memory Care to begin with. They're used to a routine and familiar faces and their room which is set up in a certain way, etc. When they're taken out of that environment, chaos can and does prevail oftentimes. Grandma1954 is SPOT ON with what she says, that any outing you take your wife on is more for YOU than it is for HER. We try so hard to create 'normalcy' for a person where normalcy has flown right out the window! "Normalcy" is for US. We are applying OUR rules to a disease that knows NO normalcy whatsoever. That is the best way to explain dementia. We have people say "Oh under NO circumstances should you break one of the 10 Commandments and LIE to your demented parent!" Which is pure nonsense. We have to say and do whatever is required to keep THEM happy and anxiety-free. THAT is the goal, nothing else. THEIR best interest must be kept in mind at all times, not ours.

If you are going to take advice from people on this forum, please do not take it from people who have NO EXPERIENCE dealing with demented elders and only want to judge you for placing your wife in Memory Care to BEGIN WITH! Those types of comments are useless and serve no good purpose at all. I thank God for my mother's MC and the staff who look after her every need (and there are MANY) on a daily basis. I could never do for her what an entire team of people working 24/7 do, that's for sure.

If you want to take your wife out of her MC, try it for a short period of time; take her out for an ice cream cone and see what happens.

Wishing you the best of luck.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to lealonnie1
Marykk Jun 13, 2021
Too many caps. Got anxiety just reading your post. Gentle!
See 7 more replies
I agree, any change to her routine could cause her to be agitated and cause her distress. I think it would be better not to take her out. I know this is a sad answer.

Grandma was in NH back in 80s (before easy access to IL, AS, MC). Dad brought her (his MIL) over for Sunday dinner, but she was was agitated and very fearful. This was a home she had been to thousands of times. There was no calming her, she just sat there with eyes big with fear and wringing her hands. Dad packed GM back in to the car and drove her back to her home in the NH. We never took her off the facility grounds for the rest of her life. It broke our hearts to she her in such distress.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to cweissp

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter