People living with Alzheimer’s can join in family travel. The following information offers ways in which caregivers can manage the challenges of traveling with someone who has Alzheimer’s, and still keep travel plans on track:
Carry important documents and medications with you.
Include emergency contact information, a list of current medications and doses, food allergies and physician information. Make sure your travel itinerary and insurance information is readily available.
Wear an identification bracelet.
Seniors may wonder, wearing an ID bracelet is important, or put their name on their clothing. Put your phone and a list of medical conditions on a card and place it on their person.
Keep surroundings as familiar as possible.
New environments are often challenging so try to bring familiar things from home on your trip (i.e., blankets, pajamas and pillows). Try to keep their routine the same to avoid confusion.
Allow extra time, limit connections and layovers.
When traveling by car, allow extra time. Only take direct flights to your destination to avoid a tight connection, distress or a missed flight. If your drive or flight is longer than four hours, be sure to have at least two caregivers present. Bring personal items to keep your loved one busy during the travel time.
Set realistic expectations.
People with Alzheimer’s need consistency so it is often easier to travel with someone in the earlier stages of the disease. If your loved one exhibits delusional, disinhibited behavior, physical or verbal aggression, has a high risk of falling or has unstable medical conditions it may be a better idea to stay locally.
Create an itinerary for emergency contacts.
Distribute your itinerary to family and friends. Keep a copy with you at all times. The itinerary should detail flight numbers, travel times, emergency phone numbers, medication and any other pertinent information.
Consider hiring a medical transport service.
If your travel needs are immediate and you cannot leave a loved one in respite care, consider hiring a medical transport service. These professionals can provide ground and air transportation and many will allow a caregiver or small pet to accompany your loved one.
Register with Medic Alert® and Safe Return® program
Before you leave town, register with Medic Alert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® program. This 24-hour nationwide emergency response service is for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
Last and most important, never leave your loved one alone.
If an urgent situation occurs, have a crisis plan ready and do not be hesitant to seek assistance from local authorities or emergency services. Adopt plans that support you and your loved one.
Source: Today’s Caregiver