Travel with a love one with dementia can be challenging, but not impossible. We have listed some suggestions to make the trip easier for both you and your loved one. Ask the physician for any special precautions prior to traveling– and remember to have fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Changes in routines and environments sometimes cause behavior changes for adults with dementia. Safeguarding from wandering is important. Registering your loved one with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Safe Return program is recommended. Once registered, you may want to notify the program of your travel plans. Remind your loved one to wear the ID bracelet at all times.
- Schedule a doctor examination prior to the trip. Discuss any medications needed to be used in case of acute anxiety emergencies. Request a letter with the diagnosis and/or description of the normal behaviors to keep with the travel documents. This letter can be extremely helpful if going through security check points or situations that require extended waits.
- Provide copies of your itinerary that includes details about each destination for each of your emergency contacts. Also provide contact information for yourself and each other.
- Keep your important documents on your body—not packed away in a suitcase. This includes the medication list and doctor letter, travel itineraries, insurance cards, MD contact information, picture IDs and any allergy cards.
- Place a copy of your contact information and emergency contact information in your loved one’s pocket or purse. You may also have to clean out some of the clutter in their purse so any good Samaritan can find your contact information.
- Schedule connecting flights to provide enough time for a relaxed bathroom trips during layovers. If driving, schedule regular bathroom breaks every few hours to avoid accidents or discomfort.
- A familiar destination is going to be easier for someone with dementia than a totally new location. Try to maintain as much of their regular routine as possible—including nap times and bedtimes and any eating rituals. Visiting places that your loved one knew prior to the onset of dementia can be great trips for both of you.
- When traveling by air, inform the airline and/or airport medical services of any special needs prior to the day of travel. Even if walking is not difficult, consider getting a wheelchair transport to decrease wait times and improve efficiency within the airport. Having a wheelchair transport also provides a visual reminder to staff that the rider may have special needs.
- When staying in a hotel, inform the staff of any special needs such as refrigerator or first floor requests prior to departure.
- And finally, travel during the time of day that is best for your loved one—whether that is early morning or early afternoon hours.
For additional help caring for your loved one with dementia please call us at 888-323-5916 to see how case management services can help you.