Going Out.

4

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“That was fun. Thank you for taking us out,” Vera* said, getting off the bus.

I genuinely enjoy outings with residents. I usually try to take another employee with me to help out or drive the bus, but oftentimes it’s just me. Here are just a few of the places we’ve been:

  • Animal shelters
  • Coffee shops
  • Frozen yogurt shops
  • Chicken farm
  • Various restaurants for lunch
  • Local preschools
  • Baseball games

I have so much fun on our outings when they are planned well. I’ll take six or seven residents with me, and we just enjoy our time together. It almost makes me feel guilty because it doesn’t feel like work. 

When you’re outside of the memory care community, you really see who these people are. You don’t just see your residents as people with cognitive impairments, or people that just live in a memory care community—you see them as people. People who have held jobs for years, had children, been married, gotten divorced, had major losses in their lives, enjoyed significant successes, cried, laughed, and truly lived. When you’re on outings with your residents, you hear stories you hadn’t heard before. Something will spark a memory, and you’ll learn something new.

When you get to spend time with your residents one-on-one outside of the community where everyone lives, it’s nothing short of magical. My residents have a lot to give and going out with them helps me to appreciate them as people—not just people with dementia.

“I really enjoy going out. It’s good for us,” she smiled.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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