AFA’s Membership and Screening Portal

Alzheimer's
Foundation of America

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Offers Tips For Traveling With People With Dementia

NEW YORK (July 18, 2017) — Traveling is a way to relax and recharge, but it can be stressful when things don’t go as planned.  That’s especially true for families who are traveling with a loved one living with dementia.  With the summer travel season in full swing, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) offered the following tips for people to help make the trip as smooth as possible.

“Traveling is a fun and enjoyable way to reenergize your body and mind.  It can be beneficial to people living with dementia and their family caregivers under the proper circumstances,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’ President and CEO.  “Before going on a trip, there are important steps family caregivers should take to ensure that their loved ones will be safe, comfortable and able to make the journey.”

AFA suggests the following tips if planning to travel with someone living with dementia:

  • Consult with the person’s physician to evaluate whether or not travel is recommended or safe for them. In the early stages of dementia, a person may still enjoy traveling.  As the disease progresses, travel can become overwhelming.
  • When choosing how and where to travel, go with the option that provides the most comfort and least anxiety.
  • Stick with the familiar. Travel to known destinations that involve as few changes in daily routine as possible.
  • Try to travel to places that were familiar before the onset of dementia.
  • Advise airlines, hotels and/or tour operators that you are traveling with a person who has memory impairment and inform them of safety concerns and special needs.
  • Prepare identification items, including an ID bracelet or clothing tag with their full name and yours.
  • Don’t forget to take important health and legal-related documentation with you.
  • Time your travel. If the person with dementia travels better at a specific time of the day, consider planning accordingly.  Also, take breaks along with the way for snacks.
  • Allow extra time. Avoid the temptation to cram several activities into one day. You and the person may need more time in between activities to rest.  Instead, plan for a single activity, and have a couple of alternatives in mind if you end up with extra time.
  • Maintain daily routines, including sleep and eating schedules.
  • If the individual with dementia is unable to travel, consider a day trip with an activity he or she enjoys or plan a theme night. Instead of going to Italy, for instance, have an Italian-themed night with food, music, Italian food, playing Italian music, and seeing an Italian film.

Families who have questions about traveling with a loved one with dementia can call AFA’s national, toll-free helpline at 866-232-8484 to speak with a licensed, trained social worker, or connect with them through AFA’s website, www.alzfdn.org.  The helpline is open from 9 am to 9 pm (ET) on weekdays and 9 am to 1 pm (ET) on Saturdays.

About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA):

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a non-profit organization that unites more than 2,600 member organizations nationwide in the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals living with dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a national, toll-free helpline (866-232-8484) staffed by licensed social workers, educational conferences and materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, the National Memory Screening Program, and “AFA Partners in Care” dementia care training for healthcare professionals. For more information about AFA, call 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, or connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.