When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it can mean a big change for the entire family. However, it doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold to care for the individual. Traveling, for example, is still possible and with a little planning it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone.
10 tips for traveling with someone with dementia
- Try to choose a destination that will be familiar to the individual with dementia.
- Choose a method of travel that will be easiest for the individual with dementia.
- Allow for extra time to get to your destinations.
- Pack movies, blankets and other items that will keep the individual comfortable during travel time.
- Travel at a time that will be the most comfortable for the individual with dementia.
- Try to keep the individual’s daily routine as normal as possible.
- Bring a copy of important legal documents such as insurance information and prescriptions.
- Bring enough medicine as well as doctors’ contact information.
- Keep emergency contact information on the individual at all times, such as with an alert or identification bracelet.
- Bring extra essentials and hygiene items with you wherever you go.
- Notify the hotel ahead of time if you require any special accommodations.
Tips for airline travel for individuals with dementia
Choosing a method of travel (e.g., car or plane) should be a significant consideration. Where will the individual be the most comfortable? If you choose to take a plane, try to book a direct flight to minimize travel time. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that you may also want to use a wheelchair even if it’s not required to make it easier to get from place to place. The organization also recommends letting the airline and airport know ahead of time that you are traveling with someone with dementia, as they may be able to be of additional assistance.
Also, keep in mind that traveling will be easiest in the early stages of dementia. As the disease progresses, traveling may become too stressful for both the individual suffering from dementia and their caretakers.
If traveling with your loved one with dementia isn’t a safe possibility, consider hiring a 24/7 in-home nurse who can care for your loved one while you are on vacation. They can help with medication management, errands, doctor’s appointments, hygiene and a myriad of day-to-day activities so that your loved one can stay safely at home.
Traveling with Dementia | Caregiver Center | Alzheimer’s Association. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-and-traveling.asp