Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive impairments may bring about anxiety and uncertainty during a trip, and while it may be harder to travel with people who are affected by them, it isn’t impossible. Preparing for the unique challenges that are brought about by these memory conditions can help both you and your loved one. Here are a few travel tips for the next trip with a loved one with Alzheimer’s:
If you plan on bringing your memory-challenged loved one, be sure to provide them with several forms of identification before traveling. Such examples are wearable GPS tracking units and ID bracelets that aren’t easily lost or removed, which can help to put you at ease in case you are separated unexpectedly. It’s also wise to put your own name and phone number on their identification so that anyone who tries to assist can contact you quickly.
If you ever get separated, make sure to carry several copies of a current photo of your care recipient at all times. Having a laminated card which details that your loved one has a cognitive impairment is an efficient way to let others know. You can even hand it over to airline staff or fellow travelers to let them know in a discrete, frank, and quick way to save you from possible frustration or embarrassment.
It’s not ideal to carry around an oversized bag through the airport when you’re on your own, let alone when you’re a caregiver who needs to watch over a loved one on-the-go. For this reason, it is advisable to pack as lightly as you can and check on your bags whenever possible. Be sure to carry a lightweight bag containing your loved one’s medications, favorite snacks, and emergency contacts.
While it may be impossible to keep everything in the same way, it’s best if you provide your care recipient with a routine. Try to have their bedtimes and mealtimes stick with the schedule they would have at home, and schedule drives and flights around the same time (if possible) to reduce the risk of agitation. Again, remember to keep medication with you rather than packing them inside the checked luggage.
Travel companies such as bus operators or airlines will usually try to provide for the special needs of caregivers who are traveling with their memory-impaired care recipients. Whenever looking for travel tickets, be sure to let them know that you’ll be traveling with someone with special needs. Doing so may help you get a seat closer to the bathroom or more legroom.
Traveling will always have its share of struggles and challenges, but being with our loved ones, whether on a bus or plane can be a great experience, despite the challenges of Alzheimer’s. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to enjoy a trip with very little to worry about. To find out more about memory care and details on our services, visit our guide on Choosing the Best Senior Living Option.