Traveling with someone who has dementia can be overwhelming for family members and caregivers, but it doesn’t have to be. A person with dementia can still participate in meaningful activities with advance planning that helps ensure their safety and enjoyment. These 10 essential tips will help you and your loved one enjoy a memorable vacation:
Tips for Successful Travel with Someone With Dementia
Essentials – Pack a bag of essentials with items like medications, a change of clothes, water, and snacks. Be sure to include emergency contact information, a list of current allergies, medications, and physician information. Find more tips on what to pack here.
Allow Extra Time – Be aware that your loved one may need extra time to adjust to their new surroundings. Make travel less stressful by staying patient with them and providing plenty of extra time for them to adjust.
Limit Connections & Layovers – Take a direct flight, if possible, and avoid tight connections. Long layovers or tight connections can be a major source of stress for those with dementia. Also, give your loved one extra time to adjust by taking advantage of airlines’ pre-boarding policies.
Limit Travel Time – If you have to travel for more than four hours, consider having at least two caregivers. Have activities prepared to occupy your loved one during the travel time. Find more air travel tips here.
Identification Bracelet – Stay with your loved one at all times while traveling, but be prepared in the event that you become separated. Get your loved one an identification bracelet with your contact information, so if you do become separated it will be easier to be reunited.
Quiet Place – Try to give your loved one their one space upon arrival to your destination, and try to find them a quiet space on the airplane or in the car as well. Consider staying at a hotel instead of with friends or relatives to give your loved one the peace and quiet they need.
Hire Additional Help – Consider hiring additional help. Medical transport services and caregivers are available to help you and your loved one while traveling, providing peace of mind and an extra set of helping hands.
Keep it Familiar – Visiting locations your loved one visited before the onset of dementia helps minimize confusion and increases comfort while traveling. While traveling, be sure to carry on with elements of their established routines, like bedtimes and mealtimes.
Communicate – Make sure everyone is on the same page when traveling with someone with dementia. Inform the hotel staff ahead of time of your specific needs so they can better assist you. Provide copies of your travel itinerary to emergency contacts at home.
Travel Time – Travel during the time of day that is best for the person with dementia. For example, if they feel most alert in the afternoon, schedule flights during that time of day.
Set realistic expectations when planning to travel with someone who has dementia. Know their limits, know your own limits, and set expectations with family and friends so they can help your loved one feel more comfortable.
Looking for more tips on caring for a loved one with dementia? Check out the Artis Senior Living blog.