Should you take someone out of there surroundings if they have dementia? - AgingCare.com

Should you take someone out of there surroundings if they have dementia?

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Yup. You really have to know the individual involved.
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I am one that will tell you make as few changes as possible. My mom, when away from home, became very disoriented. It was hard for her to go anywhere even places she frequented before her Alzheimer's had taken firm hold. Even when we went to dinner out (and we went early because of her sundowning) we would arrive home and mom had no idea where we were. She had lived in that house for nearly fifty years. One time her husband's daughter was visiting from out of town and mom thought his daughter was a girlfriend! Mom was a very jealous person. She did enjoy getting out, but it was coming back that was very hard for her. Partially because of the time of day.

Overnights? Nearly impossible. An out of town wedding for my son thank goodness other relatives were responsible for her that night. She wandered the place they stayed all night long wanting to go home. No one got any sleep that night. There were six of them staying there.
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Sometimes there is no choice. The person with dementia has to be admitted to the hospital or move to a care center, etc. It can take them quite a while to adjust to the new surroundings, and they may never adjust to a short stay in the hospital. If possible, I recommend a family member staying in the hospital with them.

Routine and familiar surrounding can be very comforting and stabilizing for some people with dementia. Others benefit from new stimulation. The neurologist who treated my husband, Coy, believed he would benefit from new experiences and stimulation. His exact words were "Novelty-seeking experiences are therapeutic."

So, novelty we sought. In the ten years of his dementia we visited two national parks, flew to visit friends in another state. Took Amtrak sleeper car to visit relative. (Sleeping car was a novelty for both of us!) We spent nights in motels. Had a car trip to friends in a nearby state. Took a cruise. Visited local museums. Ate in a variety of restaurants near home.

The only adverse reaction to all of this was Coy would get tired. I did too! Sleep is a good remedy for that.

The one constant with all of these different surroundings was that I was with him. The people we visited were familiar to him. He liked reading brochures and talking about our trips before we went. He enjoyed them. He loved looking at the pictures and showing them off when we got home. We got a lot of mileage out of those "novelty-seeking experiences."

I expect a lot of posters are going to tell you to make as few changes to surroundings as possible. And I expect that in many, many cases that is excellent advice. But it isn't always true. You really have to know the person with dementia, and try short excursions to test the waters.

And, of course, sometimes a change is necessary. Don't beat yourself up if that is the case. Do the best you can to maintain some parts of the daily routine.
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