With the holidays quickly approaching, many are making plans to travel. When traveling with an individual with dementia, it is important to be aware of a few extra details.
Caregivers may need to consider the needs, abilities, safety, and preferences of the diagnosed individual. It is also important to provide as much comfort as possible to him/her during travel in an effort to lessen any anxiety. Travel at a time of day when the person with dementia is usually most alert. Another thing to take into consideration is where he/she is traveling too: it is best to travel to familiar places. Traveling to a new place might cause confusion and anxiety.
Throughout the trip it is imperative to always have essential items close by. These items may include all necessary medications, an itinerary for the trip, change(s) of clothes, water, snacks, and several activities. In addition, it is crucial to carry a list of up to date medical information as well as a list of emergency contacts and photocopies of legal documents. Caregivers may also want to give the emergency contacts a detailed itinerary so they are aware of when/where the travelers are supposed to be. If necessary, inform hotel staff of specific needs so they can be prepared to assist.
If traveling by airplane, be sure to allow extra time at each destination. Avoid tight connecting flights. It may be helpful to request wheelchair assistance, even if the individual is able to walk, in order to have an employee assigned to help navigate around the airports. The airline and airport medical staff should be informed of any persons traveling with dementia in order to better serve them.
For more information regarding traveling with persons with dementia, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 1.800.272.3900 or visit alz.org/Dayton.