Tips For Travelers
by Mary Lou Byrnesrt
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Traveling with an Alzheimer person can be quite a challenge in itself, and adding to it is the use of the rest room. Following are some tips that may make this part of the trip a little less stressful.
Simplify clothing so that the person can manipulate it faster - try Velcro tape instead of zippers or buttons.
Limit drinks while traveling, especially ones containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, and colas since caffeine is a diuretic. On the other hand, always be sure the person has enough fluids so they do not become dehydrated.
Bathroom stops every two or three hours. This is also a good opportunity to stretch your legs. Watch for visible cues that the person needs to use the restroom.
Use a one-room rest room such as at a gas station if at all possible. Large rest rooms with several stalls pose the problem of gender and privacy. Should you have to use a rest stop, fast food restaurant or other place with large rest rooms, you could explain the situation and ask someone to wait at the door while you assist the person in the rest room. Often a staff person will be kind enough to do this for you.
Improvise a portable urinal.
Adult disposable briefs or other protective under garments may be options that provide added security. For a long car ride you may want to cover the seat with a large piece of plastic in case of an accident.
Use signs and night-lights. When staying away from home be sure that the person can find the bathroom. Try using a sign with a picture of a toilet on the door. Bring along a few night-lights to light the way, and a supply of large blue pads (mattress protectors) to protect the bed.
Bring a change of clothes. Remember that accidents are embarrassing, but it is not the end of the world. Be matter-of-fact and understanding. At all cost, avoid blaming and scolding the individual.
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