From packing the proper essentials to planning ahead and traveling at the best time of day, there are a variety of tips you can follow to make traveling with Alzheimer’s more enjoyable and less stressful.
Just because you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean that the fun of life is over, far from it! Traveling and other favorite pastimes can still be enjoyed for patients with Alzheimer’s depending on the progression of the disease. Traveling can help keep patients feeling young and happy while maintaining quality of life.
Of course, it’s important to assess the stage of the disease that someone is in before making the decision to travel with them. In some cases, if Alzheimer’s is badly progressed, traveling may cause too much stress and overwhelm the individual. It can be very disorienting to travel if this is the case.
If you think your loved one is still up for the adventure, stick with familiar destinations, particularly somewhere from the past as Alzheimer’s patients tend to remember the distant past better than recent past.
6 Tips for Fun and Safe Travels with Alzheimer’s
Keep a bag of all the essentials with you at all times.
This bag should be stocked with medication, current medical information, a first-aid kit, a list of emergency contacts, and photocopies of important legal documents. In addition, make sure to bring a detailed travel itinerary, comfortable clothes to change into, water and snacks.
What Documents Should You Travel With?
- Keep a list of all doctors’ names as well as their contact information
- Bring a list of current medications, dosages, and time of day they are taken
- Insurance card and all related information such as policy number, member name, etc.
- Make sure you know local emergency contacts for the area you are traveling, including the local hospital, fire department, and so forth.
Make a Detailed Travel Itinerary
Make sure that your travel itinerary includes details about every part of the trip. Leave a copy of the itinerary with loved ones who are staying behind. Keep a copy of the itinerary on-hand as well, make sure it includes important phone numbers for the hotel or family members you plan to stay with.
Call the hotel or travel accommodations ahead of time to inform them of your arrival and let them know if you need any special assistance. That way they are prepared to assist you however possible.
Travel at the Best Time of Day
Travel during daylight hours, or whenever is best for the person with dementia. Many patients do not do well after dark, when they may become more confused and disoriented.
Tips for Air Travel
If your trip requires air travel, make sure that connecting flights are not scheduled too close together. It may be difficult to make it to the connecting flight on time. Schedule direct flights whenever possible.
Request a wheelchair ahead of time at the airport by calling ahead at least several days prior to your flight. That way, a wheelchair can be ready and assigned to your loved one when they arrive.
Contact the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) a few days before your scheduled flight to discuss security screening and to receive special instructions for patients with dementia.
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