Holiday Travel Tips for Caregivers Traveling with a Loved One who has Alzheimer’s Disease
NEW YORK (November 19, 2018) — With more than 54 million Americans projected to travel at least 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is offering tips to families planning to travel with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease.
“Thanksgiving is all about families coming together, and in some cases, people need to travel long distances to do that. For those taking a trip with someone with Alzheimer’s, the normal stresses of traveling can be even more challenging,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President and CEO. “Following a few simple, important steps can help caregivers make the trip as safe, pleasant and comfortable as possible for their loved one.”
AFA suggests the following tips if planning to travel with someone living with Alzheimer’s:
- Consult with the individual’s physician beforehand to make sure travel is advisable. Traveling can still be enjoyable throughout the course of the illness, but adaptations may need to be made as the disease progresses.
- Take the person and their needs into account when making arrangements. Plan your mode of travel and timing of your trip in a manner that causes the least amount of anxiety and stress. If the person with dementia travels better at a specific time of day, consider planning accordingly. Take breaks along the way for snacks, restroom visits, or rest.
- Advise airlines and hotels that you are traveling with a person who has memory impairment and inform them of safety concerns and special needs.
- Preserve the person’s routine as best as possible, including their eating and sleeping schedules. Small or unfamiliar changes can often feel overwhelming and stressful to someone living with dementia.
- Take important health and legal-related documentation, a list of current medications, and physician information with you. Consider utilizing an identification bracelet and clothing tags with your loved one’s full name and yours.
Families who have questions about traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s can call AFA’s National Toll-Free Helpline at 866-232-8484 to speak with a licensed 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 weekends.