How to Travel Safely When Your Loved One Has Alzheimer’s or Another Form of Dementia

Woman supporting man on wheelchairWhen you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia, a lot of consideration has to go into your travel plans. Something unfamiliar, or what seems unfamiliar, is a simple trigger that can upset them. As their condition progresses, travel can become overwhelming. Regardless of the stage of the disease, here are some tips to help you plan a safe trip whether it be to visit family or to go out to eat.

  1. An underrated travel must is bringing an updated list of medical information and emergency contacts. Also, don’t forget necessary medications so that if anything happens, you are prepare.
  2. On top of necessary medications, having your travel itinerary, a comfortable change of clothes, water, snacks and activities are suggested by the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s a good idea to plan your day ahead of time to avoid involving too many changes in daily routine.
  3. If you’re staying in a hotel, consider informing the staff ahead of time of any specific needs, so they have the means to help you in any situation. In general, traveling during the day is the best time for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
  4. When in doubt, go with the choice that provides the most comfort. In most cases that choice will be the one that involves the fewest changes to your loved one’s daily routine. Try to visit places that are familiar and that were visited before the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia.
  5. A new tip is having the family member or friend with Alzheimer’s wear an identification bracelet. If not that, have your loved one carry a list of important numbers in his or her wallet in case of wandering.
  6. Lastly, set realistic expectations. As frustrating as a new illness may seem, it is important to remember the limitations the onset of Alzheimer’s or any other form of Dementia may create. If your loved one exhibits any signs of extreme fear, aggression or delusion, it may be a better keep your activities local.

Alzheimer’s caregivers frequently report high levels of stress. Multiple symptoms of caregivers include denial, anger, anxiety, and more. While you as a caregiver are focused on helping your loved one, it is also important to make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you feel stressed, reach out to friends, family, or the Alzheimer’s Association hotline found on their website www.alz.org for advice or assistance.

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