9 Memorial Day Weekend Travel Tips for Families Impacted by Dementia from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
(May 21, 2019): With AAA projecting nearly 43 million Americans to travel this Memorial Day weekend, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is providing important tips to families traveling with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia-related illness.
“Traveling can still be enjoyable for families affected by Alzheimer’s, but adaptations may need to be made as the disease progresses,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “Regardless of how far you’re traveling, taking a few simple steps in advance can go a long way to making the trip easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable for everyone.”
Family caregivers should consider the following tips:
- Advise airlines and hotels that you’re traveling with someone who has memory impairment and inform them of safety concerns and special needs.
- Inquire in advance with airports/train stations about security screening procedures. This way, you can familiarize the person beforehand about what will happen at the checkpoint to reduce potential anxiety.
- Plan the travel mode and timing of your trip in a manner that causes the least amount of anxiety and stress. Account for the person and their needs when making arrangements; if they travel better at a specific time of day, consider planning accordingly.
- Preserve the person’s routine as best as possible, including eating and sleeping schedules. Small or unfamiliar changes can be overwhelming and stressful to someone with dementia.
- Take regular breaks on road trips for food, bathroom visits, or rest.
- Bring snacks, water, activities and other comfort items (i.e. a blanket or the person’s favorite sweater), as well as an extra, comfortable change of clothing to adapt to climate changes.
- Consider utilizing an identification bracelet and clothing tags with your loved one’s full name and yours to ensure safety.
- Take important health and legal-related documentation, a list of current medications, and physician information with you.
- Depending on the trip duration and/or the stage of the person’s illness, consult with their physician to make sure travel is advisable.
Families with questions about traveling with someone who has a dementia-related illness can speak with a licensed social worker by calling AFA’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or clicking here. The helpline is open seven days a week.