September can bring some wonderful sunny but cooler weather which can be perfect for outdoor outings. While elders suffering from dementia can become confused and anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, outings can also reunite them with lifelong interests and favorite places.
If your loved one had pets or has always enjoyed animals, consider a trip to a place with animals which can be touched or observed up close. One local option is Belkin Lookout Farm and Petting Zoo. Located in South Natick, guests are allowed to interact with all the animals. Another destination is Drumlin Farm, located in Lincoln. The farm has a large array of farm and undomesticated animals: (owls, hawks, fox, and deer). They have a picnic area, so consider bringing a snack or lunch.
Watching Children at Play
Does your loved one enjoy children? One of the benefits of places with animals is that they attract young children too. You can enjoy watching the energy and curiosity of young children as they explore and learn. Other destinations that will put you into contact with children are local parks. Even without the presence of children, the outdoor air and new scenery can be a refreshing change for both the care giver and the elder. Take a walk, pack a lunch, and bring a camera to create images that you can revisit during the cold winter months. Lakeshore Memorial Park in Westwood is a perfect park for a day outing.
If your loved one enjoys gardening or flowers in general, consider an outing to The Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank in South Natick. The expansive grounds include vegetable gardens, demonstration gardens and an enchanting garden/playground for children. There are table and benches for picnics and snacks in a lovely setting.
With all these options, keep in mind that the most important aspect of the outing is to make sure the elder feels comfortable. Plan to go when the place is not likely to be crowded, and during the time of day when your loved one is most alert. Avoid destinations with unpaved walkways or steep hills if you have concerns about balance or stamina. Chose a day that is warm and dry, and have a great time!