Planning to Travel with a Family Member Who Has Alzheimer’s?
Do you have a family member with Alzheimer’s? If so, you may be wondering how best to travel or if travel is even doable.
The truth is, people with Alzheimer’s can continue to engage in fulfilling activities like travel, but doing so safely and enjoyably may require some planning. Before you embark on a trip, consider these tips to help ensure a pleasant experience for all.
Map Out a Strategy
Carefully consider your destination to ensure that it will work for your relative with Alzheimer’s, and create an itinerary that includes plenty of time for rest and relaxation. Try to plan your traveling during the time of day in which your relative functions at his or her best.
Whether you plan to stay in a hotel, an Airbnb or with relatives or friends, make sure your hosts understand and can accommodate any special needs of your family member.
For your destination, accommodations and mode of travel, try to choose options that cause the least strain or anxiety and provide the best comfort. Traveling to familiar destinations and keeping to a routine will be helpful.
If you’re traveling by plane, understand that the extreme activity may become overwhelming or confusing for your relative with Alzheimer’s. Try to avoid tight connections, and ask for a wheelchair (if needed) and an attendant to assist you in moving between gates.
For car trips, try to avoid peak travel days, and stop as needed for comfort. In airports, at gas stations and in other unfamiliar locales, don’t leave your relative unattended.
Bring the Right Documentation
You’ll want to make sure you have certain documentation on hand when traveling with your family member with Alzheimer’s. Bring a list of contact information for your relative’s doctors, along with all current medication names, dosages, and any food or medication allergies.
In addition, make sure you have emergency information for your destination, including locations of nearby hospitals.
Be sure to have copies of any legal and medical documents like power of attorney and insurance cards, and write down contact information for relatives or friends who can be called in the event of an emergency.
Especially if you’re traveling by plane, be sure to pack all critical items — including medications and important documents — in a bag you’ll keep with you at all times. In addition, consider the items you may want to have on hand to ensure your relative’s comfort.
Snacks, a change of clothes and plenty of water are among the essentials. In addition, consider packing some activities that can help keep your family member entertained and, if necessary, distracted from the noise and hubbub going on around you. Photo albums to flip through, puzzle books, tablets or a hobby like knitting may fit the bill.
Prepare for Safety
For an individual with Alzheimer’s, being in a different environment can lead to wandering. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a service known as MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® that provides 24-hour, nationwide emergency response.
It’s also a good idea for your relative to wear an identification tag, especially if you’ll be in busy airports or cities.
Experience Compassionate, Supportive Living at The Brielle
Valeo™ Signature Programs at The Brielle help increase awareness and engagement, ensuring that every resident’s legacy is honored. By working to stimulate pleasurable memories of the past, we assist residents in continuing to have fulfilling experiences. To learn more about supportive living, please contact us.