Planning a trip
with someone who has Alzheimerís or other dementia? Here are some suggestions:
the personís stage of dementia. As a caregiver, you know your family memberís
capabilities. Trust your judgment and experience. Try to gear your expectations
and plans to your family memberís skills. Plan ahead, anticipating delays,
changes in schedules, weather, and your family memberís needs.
any physical impairments that might affect travel. How far can your family
member walk? If visually impaired, you will need to provide your arm as
a guide or escort. If your family member is hearing impaired, be sure their
hearing aid is turned on to an appropriate volume and bring extra batteries.
- Keep your
plans simple. Avoid fast paced schedules or connecting flights. The fewer
the changes, the less likely your family member will become agitated.
Schedule extra bathroom stops and consider protective briefs. Enlist the
help of a friend or family member (who is the same sex as the person with
AD) to accompany you to the airport or bus station to assist with bathroom
- Pack lightly.
It will be important for you to have a hand free to escort your family
member. If you have packages or need several suitcases, consider shipping
them in advance.
travel time. How long can the individual sit in one place? Does your family
member need to roam? Does your family member function better at certain
times of the day?
- Never send
the patient alone on a plane, especially with a connecting flight or on
a bus with multiple stops. Flight attendants and customer service representatives
are not responsible for watching your family member.
- Alert customer
representatives of your special needs. Alert hotel staff if wandering is
a problem. Ask restaurant staff what appetizers and meals can be prepared
quickly and if they could put a rush on your meal. If flying, ask to board
the plane early to avoid rushing, however, do not give them cause for alarm
ó airlines can deny seating for someone they believe will be disruptive
to the flight.
- Food! Glorious
food! Schedule plenty of breaks and time out for snacks. Try to maintain
- Bring along
familiar activities. Pack a few magazines, a deck of cards, a wallet or
purse to rummage through, or other activities that your family member enjoys
at home. This will help to distract them from the change in environment
and help to calm them by providing familiar events.
- Be consumer
savvy. Some airlines may provide a special rate for an escort for disabled
person. Be sure to inquire about these special deals.
- Carry emergency
contacts and phone number with you and on your family member.
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