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Our Favorite Dementia-Friendly Things to Do Around Houston

An adult son walks with his senior father on a park path

If your loved one receives an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, it’s still possible to do things together and continue to enjoy life as much as possible with some dementia-friendly activities.

Fun Things to Do Around Houston

Here are some local dementia-friendly activities to consider:

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: The breadth of the Museum of Fine Arts permanent collection brings together stunning works from every corner of the world, from ancient artworks to modern masterpieces. The museum also offers a program called Looking Together designed for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and their care partners. This program allows participants to discover and discuss works of art together in the museum galleries.

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center: This 312-acre nature preserve features a variety of plant and wildlife species, white sand beaches along Spring Creek, swamps and sloughs with century-old cypress trees, and a pristine flood plain located in a hardwood and pine forest.

Space Center Houston: Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Johnson Space Center’s working and training areas. You can also learn about the history of flight from the earliest rockets to the lunar landing to shuttle flights.

Downtown Aquarium: Tour the underwater world of the Aquarium Adventure Exhibit, a 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland featuring 400 species of marine life from around the globe.

Houston Museum of Natural Science: Among the nation’s most-visited museums, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is home to one of the largest paleontology halls in the country.

Houston Zoo: Elephants, red pandas, chimpanzees and rhinos are just some of the animals you’ll see.

Go to the park: From the inner city to the north, west, east and south sides of town, with tens of thousands of acres of beautiful parkland, you’re sure to find a park to add to your summer outing plans.

Area drive-ins: Houston’s metro area still has a few fun drive-in theaters which offer an easy and convenient way for seniors to see a movie without fighting the crowds.

Farmers markets: These outdoor markets let you shop a variety of foods and goods from local vendors including fresh fruits and veggies to handmade soaps and art.

15 Tips to Help Create a Fun and Calm Excursion

Here are some suggestions to ensure your outing with your loved one is safe, comfortable and enjoyable:

  • Before you go, think about the problems that might arise and how you’d handle them.
  • Learn to recognize the warning signs of anxiety and agitation, and identify strategies to reduce them.
  • When selecting destinations, consider those that have easy access to emergency health services and pharmacies.
  • Consider everyone’s needs and interests as you plan your trip. Elaborate sightseeing trips or complicated tours may cause anxiety and confusion.
  • Stay relatively close to home. This will decrease travel time, which can be stressful for someone with dementia.
  • Evaluate travel options based on needs, abilities, safety and preferences. Choose the mode of transportation that would provide the most comfort and the least anxiety.
  • Well before the trip, explain the plan to your loved one. Describe where you’ll be going and what you may do, even if you need to repeat it often.
  • If you will be staying in a hotel, consider informing the staff ahead of time of your specific needs so they can be prepared to assist you.
  • Try to stick with the familiar. Having beloved, comforting people, and even pets, around is key.
  • Manage expectations because your loved one may not be as thrilled by your outings as you’d hoped they would be.
  • Allow plenty of time for rest and don’t overschedule or overstimulate.
  • Always have a bag of essentials with you including medications, your itinerary, a comfortable change of clothes, water, snacks and activities.
  • Remember to pack necessary medications, up-to-date medical information, a list of emergency contacts and photocopies of important legal documents.
  • Travel during the time of day that is best for your loved one. For example, if they become tired or more agitated in the late afternoon, travel in the late morning.
  • Carry with you an itinerary that includes details about each destination. Give copies to family members or friends you’ll be visiting or to emergency contacts at home.

Discover Care with Heart at The Village

If your loved one has dementia and you’re trying to decide between memory care and in-home care, contact us here or by using our Community Assistant chat feature. The Village at Gleannloch Farms has helped families just like yours make a more informed decision. We’d also be happy to tell you more about our memory care.