The holidays are here, which makes it the perfect time to make travel plans. Taking the time to make arrangements is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic that has had families separated, cautious, and isolated for months. If you’re planning to be with family and friends, take precautionary steps. Keep in mind that traveling can be fun and adventurous, but it can also be stressful if you’re traveling with someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
For those living with dementia, noise, crowds, new surroundings, and changes in routine can cause stress, confusion, and anger. It’s important that those traveling with them are patient and understanding of their needs.
There are various stages of Alzheimer’s disease, ranging from mild to severe. In the early stages, there is mild memory loss and confusion. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and often unmanageable. Therefore, the best time for travel is during the early stages of the disease. This is when your loved one is less likely to become anxious and distressed.
Depending on the length of your trip, you should consider a trial run to gauge how your loved one manages traveling with you. During the excursion, pay attention to any signs of distress, such as anxiety or disorientation. Try to keep his/her routine as stable as possible to minimize any issues. Before your trip, there are certain tips to consider when traveling with someone with dementia.
Here are the top 5 tips to consider:
- Make sure you know your loved one’s medication schedule and that you safeguard their medications. It will be up to you for medication management.
- Ensure you have copies of important documents, such as identification information, medical contacts. Not only should you have his/her ID information, but your loved one should also carry ID that indicates they have dementia.
- Do not leave your loved one unsupervised, especially if you are in new surroundings. They can become scared and confused. Provide reassurance that you’ll be there to keep them safe and secure.
- If you’ll be traveling by air, inform the airlines, hotel, and any other agency of any special needs you may have, including non-slip bath surfaces at the hotel. If your loved one is known to wander off, be sure to take precautions by hiding car keys or double-locking the doors.
- Be flexible with your time. Don’t rush and allow plenty of time for traveling and regular rest breaks.
Traveling with someone who has dementia doesn’t have to be stressful. Make sure that everyone stays safe, following CDC precautions. This includes wearing a mask, social distancing when possible and washing your hands often. Remember, if you’re having fun, your loved one will have fun. So, go ahead and plan your trip. Be safe, have fun, and plan accordingly.