Dementia-friendly places in Devon
When looking for dementia friendly places to visit and explore in Devon, you will need to consider a few things to ensure it’s suitable, enjoyable, fun and safe. Whether you are a carer or a family member, it’s important to look for new places to visit that keep them engaged and continue to meet their needs.
- What time and day of the week will you be visiting? – It’s likely that you will want to do your outings when it’s less busy. Consider whether it’s school holidays and therefore if more children will be around. Also the time of day going for lunch after or before the rush
- Have you considered travel to and from the location? – Are they used to travelling and how long is the journey going to take? For some people living with dementia, this can cause unnecessary stress. However, for many car journeys are calming, safe and allow you to switch off and relax so planning a longer drive is not a bad idea.
- Is it practical? – Have you checked with the attraction that they have facilities such as disabled parking, accessible toilets and ramp access (if required)? It isn’t a bad idea to ring ahead and state that you are coming with someone who has late stage dementia so they give you more support.
- What is the environment like? – All café’s, restaurants and pubs have an emotional feeling on entering, this is often linked to noise, height of ceiling, acoustics, colour, patterns. Those living with dementia are more susceptible to stressful environments places that may be noisy, colorful, dark, cluttered while a good dementia friendly café is often light, clean, with high ceilings and a calm atmosphere.
- Will it be too physically enduring? – Some activities, such as stately homes and gardens can seem like a very appealing day out, however, in some cases can involve a lot of walking which may be too exhausting for someone with dementia.
- Can the activity be done regularly as part of a routine? – For some people living with dementia, routine is key, if they enjoy the activity or day out you need to consider whether it can be done again, is it financially viable to return often? Do they offer memberships or yearly subscriptions or is it free?
Dementia-friendly places to visit in Devon
With the above in mind, our team has had the pleasure of taking our members to many of the attractions in Devon, allowing us to be perfectly placed to recommend days out. Below, we have outlined various different dementia friendly places to visit in Devon…
Buckfast Abbey – during summer 2019, we took some of our members on a visit to Buckfast Abbey, and it is somewhere that we would highly recommend, especially if you go on a weekday. It makes for a brilliant day out as they have some stunning gardens, as well as a great cafe and the Abbey Church. We found this attraction to be very accommodating for our members, with free onsite parking, and free entry to the Abbey and gardens. It’s a truly tranquil place, allowing those with dementia to explore in their own time and take it in at their own pace.
Brunel Manor – the staff are incredibly welcoming and look after those living with dementia in a kind supportive way. It has a quiet, calm atmosphere and it is inexpensive.
The Moorland – again, a lovely team that understand. The colours, the open fire and decorations are welcoming and it has great views and outdoor space.
The Grand Hotel Torquay – all large hotels are good out of season and outside busy times because they are quiet, attentive, spacious places. The Grand has beautiful decorations and things to chat about. Good for winter days as you look out at the sea.
Horsemanship for Health – this is a charity based in Teignbridge, South Devon that enables an educational and therapeutic approach through the use of horses. Horsemanship for Health has worked with those suffering from PTSD, anxiety, grief and has shown huge benefits to their wellbeing, a reduction in anxiety, agitation and restlessness.
Take a look at the Horsemanship for Health website here.
Memory cafes – many individuals living with dementia find that having a routine is hugely beneficial for their wellbeing. Memory cafes throughout Devon provide a safe and inviting space to visit which will not only support their needs but the demands of the carer too, providing the opportunity to speak to like-minded people.
Here at Atlas, we run our memory cafes at 3 different locations on 3 weekdays. They are completely free to attend and are run by volunteers to support the local community.
Join a dementia walk – last year, across Devon, walks were set up to support those living with the disease and encourage individuals to stay active. Getting out in nature and stimulating the senses has huge benefits, so even a short walk everyday can make a big difference.
These pre-organised walks allowed carers and people with dementia to speak to others that are going through the same thing, whether they are in the early stages or more advanced.
Attend a Rare Dementia Evening – Powderham Castle is now offering an evening for carers and individuals living with rare dementia. This runs every Tuesday evening from 7pm.
Did you know that many towns in Devon including Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Seaton and Sidmouth all support local residents living with dementia? A number of the shops display “Dementia Friendly Town” stickers in their windows to show that they understand and respect those living with the disease. You can learn more about this initiative here.
Don’t have time to take your loved one to these dementia friendly attractions?
Don’t worry, you can rely on the support of Atlas to ensure that your loved one is receiving the stimulation they need.
Whether you are looking for dementia home care or dementia day care at our centre, the activities they will receive will be varied and enjoyable.
Here are some quick links to learn more about how Atlas can help…