Caregiver Tips for Traveling with a Loved One with Dementia

Has a loved one been diagnosed with dementia? Living with dementia may require some adjustments and will mean taking extra precautions in order to ensure your loved one stays safe and continues to enjoy the lifestyle they love. Freedom Home Care has put together the following tips for caregivers and family members who are planning travel for someone with dementia:

Decide if Travel is Appropriate

Be sure to consider if travel is appropriate. It is important for seniors with dementia to have the opportunity to visit family and other loved ones, but gauging if it is appropriate is important in order to be sure it is safe to travel. Consider whether medical conditions are stable and also how advanced the dementia is at the time. If it is impractical, travel is likely not appropriate. You may also want to consider how previous trips have gone, if travel is impractical due to a fall risk, or if the senior has wanted to go home on prior trips.

Stick with What’s Familiar

For a senior with dementia, unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances can be uncomfortable and can also give rise to fear, anxiety, and mood swings. It is best to keep travel familiar, including following a familiar route or traveling during the day when surroundings are more illuminated and visible, allowing for more familiarity. Therefore, it is best to avoid traveling at night.

Simplify Travel

It’s a good idea to keep travel to a maximum of four hours. Therefore, if flying utilizing direct flights is preferred. Be sure to also avoid unfamiliar surroundings including shortcuts as well. It is not advisable to use a form of transportation which the senior is not familiar with. Airports and airplanes may cause undue anxiety or fear if the senior has never used this mode of transportation. Lastly, be sure to allow extra time based on your travel scenario, caring for an individual with dementia will require additional time.

Have an Info Card

Before heading out, be sure to write out a note card with the loved one or dementia patient’s name and information. If they will be staying away from home, also be sure to include the name of the hotel and address of where they will be staying. Place this on their body, in a pocket, purse, or bag as it can be useful to the senior if they become lost or confused.

Have the Essentials

Have a bag packed and close by with essentials including legal documents, travel itinerary, medical information, prescriptions, and a fresh change of clothes. Whether traveling by plane or car, keep this bag close.

Keep in mind, for those with dementia that are able, travel is a healthy part of their balanced lifestyle.  However, as dementia progresses it becomes more important to assess if travel is possible and safe for the dementia patient. If you need some advice consider reaching out to Freedom Home Care. Freedom Home Care is a compassionate home care agency in Highland Park, IL. Freedom Home Care hours are convenient and provide the support you need from a local home care agency. Find us on Yelp and Google to review Freedom Home Care reviews.