My father in law has Alzheimer's and my husband wants to take him out of his facility for Father's Day. Is this a good idea?

Asked by
Answers 1 to 10 of 15
I wouldn’t do it. I’d celebrate at the facility. Besides exhausting the patient, they need their routine.
Have you taken him out before?
If so, what was his reaction?
Will he know it is his birthday?
In facility sounds good. May be in the facilities garden. If the weather is nice and he is having a 'good day'?
Top Answer
Chances are, unless it’s very mild dementia, your FIL will not know it from any other day. In addition if there are several other people there, even if you take him to a restaurant, he will become confused and upset. I thought it was a good idea to take my mother out one Thanksgiving and she wound up in the ER 2 days later with chest pains.

If you regularly bring Dad out and he is still cognizant of his surroundings, there may not be a problem. But I’d suggest having lunch with him at his facility is a better idea.
HopieandTommy, I wouldn't recommend taking Dad out for the day as usually the facility will have their own Father's Day event. Your Dad may be looking forward to it.

Once my Dad moved to Independent Living I never took him back to my house or even out for a meal. I wanted him to be on a regular routine. The logistics and getting Dad ready for anything outside of the facility wasn't easy, and very exhausting on Dad. My Dad had sundowners.

Dad's facility celebrated all the holidays within the facilities. It was so nice meeting the other residents and meeting their grown child(ren). And the Father's Day lunch was excellent :) That way if Dad was getting tired [he was in his 90's] his apartment was just down the hall.
Not all alzheimer residents would welcome an outing, but some do. I took my mom out for Christmas dinner 4 months before she passed. The restaurant was just about empty and the wait staff quickly recognized the situation and were all very kind.
If you are talking about Father's Day or a busy restaurant, I'd vote no.
How long has your Fil been in the facility? You might suggest to your husband that he take him out on Saturday to a quiet place. It could be a trial run for future outing --- but be prepared for ALL situations. Some patients begin to panic, others are upset by crowds or noise. Most can't navigate a menu, so hubby should be prepared to suggest a known favorite meal option.
If you do take him out, be sure to notify the facility ahead of time so they can have him toileted and ready to go.
I also vote "No" to taking your Father-in-Law out to eat at a restaurant especially on a busy day like "Father's Day".

Going out to eat can be very tiring and exhausting and when a person with dementia or Alzheimer's get tired, they tend to have some behaviors and get irritated and upset easily.

When my Mom was still able to get into a car with assistance of 1 person, I would take her for a car ride for 30-60 minutes (something that we had done often over the 9+ years that we lived together) and at the end of the car-ride, I would go through the drive-thru of her favorite fast food restaurant and get a meal which we took back to the facility and ate in the dining room at the nursing home. Now that Mom has to use a mechanical lift for transfers, we reserve one of the small private dining rooms that the nursing home has available and bring "Take-out" food from the restaurant and a cake. The nursing home provides paper plates, silverware and drinks if we ask for them. We can also purchase meals from the nursing home if we eat at the same time they are serving the residents.

No matter what you do, always call the nursing home and tell the nursing staff on the unit where your Father-in-Law is what you plan to do so that they can toilet him prior to your little "Get-Together" & put clean clothes on him for photos that you take that day.
A few thoughts on this:

1. How are you going to transport him? I only ask because my loved one is unable to get in and out of a personal vehicle. Sometimes I point that out to people (including close friends and family) and they look at me like I am nuts. Who can't ride in a car?
Right? But seriously, PLEASE be sure he can really, truly get in/out of a car before you attempt it. My loved one can only travel by medical van or ambulance - which is private pay. Getting in/out of a car is VERY complex when you stop and think about it. Most of us take it for granted.

2. Once you get where you're planning to take him, how much assistance will be honestly, truly needed? Mine needs help with everything - including restroom. Will there be someone present for the entire time who's both willing and able to help with all of that?

3. Will leaving the facility frustrate, exhaust, or otherwise cause stress for your loved one? Those of us who are independent often don't consider that things we believe are "fun" could be upsetting to someone who is physically or mentally compromised.

4. Is it OK with the facility for you to take him? Our loved one's condition dictates that she must be approved to leave the facility for any reason - including outings the facility itself is taking her on. Outings her family might (innocently) dream up would be a whole different set of issues (potentially).
My mom with "mild" vascular dementia grabbed the steering wheel from my husband. No more outings. We had lovely family celebrations at her facility.
That's a rather decisive NO, isn't it? In the midst of looking after my wife at home with Alzheimer's for the past seven years, the key is to make sure she (and others with dementia)feel connected to you and protected. Taking him out on a day that is special to you, but confusing to him is unlikely to be helpful. I think C S Lewis has it right in The Four Loves--friendship, affection, charity, Eros (the experience of being in love, with or without a sexual side). However, whenever possible it is the Person Living with Dementia (PLwD) who should choose what kind of love they wish to experience and when. My experience is that the order is friendship, affection, charity, Eros--FACE, but slowly, always slowly when relating to a PLwD.

The key thing is to ADAPT on a daily, or rather minute-by-minute, basis. Stay alert to changes in mood, fears and hopes. A sit in the garden at the facility, joining in the celebrations there sounds an attractive idea.
Having read these answers makes me think of when someone (I don’t know who came up with the idea) decided to take my mother out to eat on mom’s birthday. She loves Cracker Barrel food. I order for her now because we know one another’s favs. Anyway I don’t know if my dad thought to take her, my daughter said she’s along to be caregiver. So it seems innocent enough doesn’t it?

Let’s say it was a learning experience for me! I believe you need at least two people to watch the person with dementia. I have mobility problems and can catch mom (yes, she darted away a couple times), but I’m slow with a pronounced limp. My dad is oblivious to what is going on (he’s the king) and I had to scream for my daughter, who RAN to catch mom.

Mom was headed to the ladies room and was urinating in the middle of the floor when my daughter caught up. Daughter cleaned her up and informed me that whichever staff helped mom dress that day had put ordinary panties on her. Can I just say I was embarrassed and feeling sorry for whoever had to clean the ladies room and for mom.

But she did seem to enjoy her day! She went ‘home’ happy. We were a wreck. I’m planning any future outings on quiet days in midweek, no noisy or chaotic places, no noisy or chaotic PEOPLE, etc.

We are amateurs obviously (just read some of my answers). I think our next outing will be in an outdoor setting and we’ll eat in a smaller, quieter place! The AL facility has a huge sunroom too, screened in...

Cracker Barrel has takeout by the way!!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support