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Eight Things to do with Your Ageing Parents in Dorset

Dorset is full of great days out and things to do with family members of all ages. As anyone with an older parent will know, though, a trip can require plenty of advanced planning. Finding suitable destinations that would be of interest to someone who needs dementia or Alzheimer’s care is only the beginning. Checking whether the location also has convenient parking, is wheelchair accessible, provides opportunities to rest, has appropriate toilets or trained staff are all things to consider. For this reason, it’s a good idea when taking elderly care considerations into account for a caregiver or live-in carer to take recommendations from those who have been before.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of eight accessible sites in Dorset, which you as a caregiver can visit for day trips with your parents.

Tank Museum at Bovington

For anyone interest in the history of wars or machinery, the Tank Museum at Bovington is a must-see. Allow yourself plenty of time to explore the museum and stop for lunch inside too. The displays chart the progress of the tank in warfare from the first metal containers on tracks to the advanced weapons of today.

Bournemouth Beach

These beaches are especially well-maintained and combed every day during the season. Award-winning, litter-free and accessible, as well as offering a traditional British seaside experience, Bournemouth Beach will appeal to those of the older generation. There are several well-placed, council-run car parks which are affordable. If you want to stay longer, hire a beach hut in which to relax and eat your fish and chips.


Mapperton is the glorious sandstone manor house belonging to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. Set in a romantic, enclosed garden deep in a Dorset combe (a hollow on a hillside), the house often features in film and television dramas. The bottom floor is open to the public on certain days, as are the gardens. History buffs and TV fans alike will enjoy exploring this grand country house.

Sherborne Museum

This small museum is in the centre of town and a good place to head if the weather is uncertain. The museum is a treasure trove of historic items and finds from Sherbourne and its surroundings. The couple who run the museum have great enthusiasm and knowledge about the area and always happy to chat. Parking is available close by.

Mikis’ care story

In this short video, Nick and Maro explain their reasons for choosing Elder live-in care.

They discuss how live-in care has allowed Nick’s father Mikis to stay independent in his own home while making a new friend at the same time.

Minterne Gardens

These gardens are renowned for their abundance of colour on a summer’s day as well as an array of autumn variety in the trees. The star turns are the flaming reds of the acer trees. The entrance fee is around £5, and accessible toilets are available.

St Peter’s Church

This Church of England parish church sits in the very heart of Bournemouth. The Grade I-listed building dates from 1879 and is considered a prime example of Gothic Revival. It has a 202-foot spire, the town’s crowning glory, which also makes the church easy to find - just look up! Visit on a sunny day to make the most of the stained glass by Clayton and Bell.

Highcliffe Castle

This ‘castle’ was built by Lord Stuart de Rothesay in the 1830s, in the Romantic and Picturesque style. A fire ravaged the roof some years ago, but the building has been restored and now also includes a café. Fans of the BBC series Mr Selfridge can take a tour of the castle and see how the American retail magnate lived when he rented the castle in the 1920s.

Weymouth Harbour

A great ‘end of the day’ treat is to sit and enjoy the bustling harbour at Weymouth. To reach it, you need to head away from the beach, past the shops and cafes towards the lifting bridge. This is a lovely spot for watching the crab boats and other local vessels as they head out to, or return from sea.

Day trips and excursions can be a great way of adding interest to the week and help your older relative stay happy and fulfilled, as well as spend time with their loved ones. Likewise, if your parent is receiving 24/7 care or private live-in care, arranging a couple of days out of the house together each week has many benefits. For the live-in carer, it can offer a few respite hours or give them time to go food shopping alone. Taking time to enjoy each other’s company outside of the home, is also a great advantage of having live-in care at home. With all the daily tasks taken care of, you and your parent can concentrate your time together on doing something more interesting.

Families choose home care through a private care company for many reasons. Besides offering your loved ones the best opportunity to continue enjoying independent living, it also means you can enjoy your family time without your parent feeling like a dependent or having to ask you for help. You can head out around Dorset and take in the sights without worrying about the washing, the shopping or preparing meals because you’ve already taken care of everything.

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