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Navigating SeaFair with Dementia: Ensuring a Joyful Experience for All

SeaFair Weekend holds a special place in the hearts of many in the Seattle area. The event offers a thrilling lineup, featuring the Blue Angels, Golden Knights, hydroplane shows, vintage aircrafts soaring overhead, delectable food, and delightful summer weather (fingers crossed with that last one). It's an action-packed weekend filled with excitement and fun!

However, for individuals living with dementia, this event can sometimes lead to sensory overload. Let's briefly discuss potential issues, the scenarios they may encounter, and possible solutions for those planning to attend SeaFair Weekend.

As the care partner, you know what's best for your loved one and what they can comfortably enjoy. We encourage you to prioritize safety and fun in your decisions.

Here are a few concerns and solutions that may arise for individuals with dementia:

Disruption in Daily Routine:

Problem: The change in routine and leaving a familiar environment can cause stress and resistance.

Scenario: Altering their routine and departing from a safe place may induce fear, anxiety, and discomfort. The person might not understand the reason for leaving or feel confused about the changes.

Possible Solution: Remind your loved one about the opportunity to see and reminisce about their favorite planes or boats, enjoy an entertaining time at the park, or meet friends and family. If leaving becomes too stressful, consider staying home and finding other enjoyable activities to do, such as reminiscing about past related times.


Problem: Crowded spaces with constant chatter and close contact may overwhelm and confuse individuals with dementia.

Scenario: The abundance of stimuli can be challenging for individuals with dementia to process, leading to increased confusion, agitation, and possibly aggression.

Possible Solution: If you notice signs of discomfort in your loved one, find a less crowded and quieter spot to take a break. Consider attending the event for a short time, leaving early, or having an additional back-up plan.

Loud Noises:

Problem: Loud noises from planes, announcers, and racing boats, mixed with excited voices and background noises, may cause sensory overload.

Scenario: Loud noises can escalate confusion and agitation for individuals with dementia.

Possible Solution: Provide earplugs or headphones to reduce noise exposure for your loved one. If the noise becomes too much, consider leaving the event.

For those unable to attend, SeaFair provides an alternative option. "You can tune in to KONG TV for live coverage of the races and air shows or listen to 88.9 FM The Bridge for Log Boom Radio, Mercer Island High School's radio station broadcasting the excitement all weekend long." Watching the event on TV or listening to it on the radio from the comfort of home can create a more subdued yet delightful sensory experience. You can still enjoy the occasion by firing up the grill, looking at photos of planes, and following the SeaFair events unfold through media.

Ultimately, the well-being and comfort of your loved one should be the priority, and you can choose the best approach to ensure a pleasant experience for both of you.

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