Traveling When a Loved One Has Alzheimer's
Caring for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes a change of scenery might help you unwind. Whether it’s a beach weekend or a lakeside retreat, caregivers deserve a vacation too, even if it means bringing their aging parent along.
It’s understandable to worry about their safety as you travel. Disruption in routine can present unique challenges for adults with dementia. With careful planning, however, vacationing with a loved one who has dementia is possible. These tips can help you plan.
Vacation Planning When a Family Member Has Dementia
- Choose your destination with care.
A change in environment is often tough for an adult with dementia whose memory is impaired. Agitation and wandering may increase in unfamiliar surroundings. One way to get around these potential concerns is to return to a favorite family vacation spot. Because short-term memory is usually lost first, the older adult might have fond memories of vacation destinations from the past.
If that isn’t possible, consider destinations that might not be as busy as popular vacation spots. Adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia often have difficulty in loud, busy places.
- Consider the logistics.
Another consideration is when and how you will travel. Many people with dementia have times of day that are better for them than others. When is your senior loved one usually at their best? Try to plan your travel arrangements around those times.
Also give thought to transportation. Air travel is usually the quickest, but it might also be the most stressful for someone with memory loss. Airports are noisy and chaotic, especially in larger cities. The whole process of getting through security can be time-consuming and even frightening. Flight delays and cancellations are all too common.
Traveling by car, on the other hand, allows you to control the pace of the trip. If your family member becomes restless or needs to use the bathroom, you can usually find a place along the way to take a quick break. Car travel also allows you to create a safe, soothing environment. Soft music, pillows, and activities to keep them busy might help prevent agitation and anxiety.
- Plan for an emergency.
When you are the family caregiver for a senior who has dementia, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead for potential emergencies. In addition to keeping an ample supply of their medications and necessities on hand, create a mobile health file to take with you. Include copies of their medical history, a medication list, physician contact information, and important legal documents.
It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers in the areas you will be traveling to and through. While no one wants to think about a medical emergency happening while they are away from home, it’s important to plan for the worst.
- Invest in a mobile medical alert system.
Finally, consider investing in a mobile medical alert system. If your senior loved one becomes separated from you, they can press a button to connect with 911 or a Life Protect 24/7 operator. The choice is yours. Either option can allow you to be reunited wherever you are.
Contact Life Protect 24/7 to Learn More
If you have questions about mobile monitoring devices or would like to learn more, call us today at 1-844-203-5617. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!