Traveling With a Person Who Has Alzheimerís

By Joyce Simard
 

Being a caregiver doesnít mean you have to give up lifeís pleasures. You can still enjoy traveling with someone who is in the early stages of Alzheimerís disease; it simply requires planning well in advance. Safety should be the number one consideration in traveling with a person with Alzheimerís. Wandering and becoming anxious may be more likely because youíre leaving the familiar routine and environment. 

The first thing to do is call your local Alzheimerís Association and register with their Safe Return Program or Wandererís Program. Both are moderately priced. The entire registration process should be completed before leaving for your vacation. It is also important to remember to never leave your loved-one alone during the trip because they are more likely to wander in an unfamiliar environment. If a situation does present itself, have a crisis plan ready and donít be hesitant to seek assistance from local authorities or emergency services.

  • When preparing for bedtime during a hotel stay, secure the hotel room door.

  • During your trip, maintain a daily routine as much as possible. This will help lessen confusion.

  • Wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each evening.

  • Keep regular meal times.

  • Have comfort items such as pillows, snacks and water readily available when you travel. This includes any kind of transportation including bus, train, car or airplane. 

If you feel travel will be too difficult with your loved-one consider respite care at an assisted living facility. Many facilities offer this form of short-term care. A great way to approach respite care with your loved-one is to tell them they are going on vacation too. Respite care will provide quality care and meaningful activities, which will make their stay very enjoyable and safe, just as a vacation should be. You can even call the facility frequently while on your trip to make sure everything is ok. 

Keep in mind that taking a break from your care giving responsibilities can be vital for your own mental and physical health. In the end, itís a tremendous benefit to both caregiver and care recipient. Bon voyage!

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