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Tips for Traveling with a Senior That Has Dementia

Traveling with loved ones over the holidays can be a fun, and often, necessary part of the holiday season. However, for those who have someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia in their family, taking them on the journey can be stressful for you and them if the proper preparations are not made. Following are some tips to help make spending time with your loves on the road easier and more enjoyable.

1. Carry Copies of Important Legal Documents with You

Important documents such as insurance information, a list of medications, and phone numbers in case of an emergency will make accessing this information much easier if something comes up during your travels. Keep a hard copy of your travel itinerary on you as well for easy reference.

  • Diagnoses and medications
  • Copies of phone numbers for friends and family members in the case of an emergency
  • Medical insurance information
  • A list of allergies

2. Involve Your Loved One in the Travel Plans

Traveling is stressful, especially for those with dementia. When planning a trip with a senior that has dementia, no matter what stage, involving them in the travel arrangements will help them get accustomed to the plans that are being made and the travels that will be taking place. Be sure to consider their wants in the planning process – what they like to do, what they like to eat and things they want to see. By involving them in the planning, they have time to think about and visualize the journey rather suddenly being transported without any preparation.

3. Visit Somewhere Familiar

New places are especially overwhelming for people with dementia. Acclimating to new environments can be hard but with a little extra effort, you’ll be able make the transition a little easier. Stick to places that are familiar and have been visited in the past before a dementia diagnosis. Bring items on the trip that will trigger the familiarity of home or old memories, such as blankets, pillows or keepsakes.

4. Take Advantage of Airport Services

Airports have made it easier than ever for seniors to get assistance from the time they arrive at the airport to the time they take off. With their assistance, seniors and those that are accompanying them, will be able to get through security quicker and with less stress and be transported throughout the airport via wheelchair to avoid a lot of walking. This will help to create a little extra time if anything comes up prior to your flight.

5. Stay at a Hotel if Possible

Relative’s homes over the holidays can often be stressful, hectic places. Hotels offer a safe, calm space for your loved ones when they get overwhelmed from traveling, experiencing new places, and going outside of their regular routine. Hotels will also allow you to stay closer to your every day routine versus staying with relatives, especially those who may not be familiar with dementia.

6. Set Realistic Expectations

Consistency is key when it comes to dementia, especially in the later stages. It’s much easier to travel during the early stages, so take advantage of it while you can! As dementia progresses, there is a greater increase of delusion, disinhibited behavior, and aggression in addition to higher fall risks so staying local during the progression is a safer plan.

By following these tips we hope that you will have a safe and happy holiday season filled with good quality time with all of your loved ones!

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