Tips for traveling with people with dementia

Tips for traveling with people with dementia

 

Traveling is a way to relax and recharge, especially with an RV, 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) offers these tips to help make such a 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.
  • 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 the way for rest and 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. 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.

Families with 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.

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5 thoughts on “Tips for traveling with people with dementia

  1. rvgrandma

    the scout tracking device would not work for majority of dementia patients. There is no way to attach it to them so they can’t take it off. You have to understand when people with AD get to the place of wandering, they will take things attached to them off or try.

    Before then, for what this does you can buy a cell phone with GPS, download an app that will track it and add to your cell phone service.

  2. Frank D

    For Dementia patients, when you travel, look into Scout GPS Tracking http://www.findmyscout.com/. Worth the $50 + $9.99/month tracking fee basically paying for a phone #.

  3. Alfred Malone

    Chuck;
    You bring up many good points regarding RVing with a loved one that has dementia.
    My wife Jan speaks on this subject extensively within the PDX/Vancouver Wa area, as well and across the US when I RV travels take us to an area stay at awile. She has written a book, “My Name is Thelma, But I Don’t Know who I Am” that helps guides people through this journey with a loved one. I’d like to donate a copy to you that you can review, and or give away in your weekly trivia contest. Jan’s book is available through Amazon as well.

    Reach out to me and advise where I can send Jan’s book to if you are interested.

    Loving reading your weekly newsletter. Great articles each week.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Hello, Alfred. I looked up your wife’s book on Amazon and it sounds interesting. The reviews are good. I have a half dozen books stacked up now to read, so couldn’t get to this for some time. For readers who would like to learn more about the book, it’s here at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2u8Jvbj

      1. Alfred Malone

        No worries Chuck. Reach out to me if you get through your book stack and would like a copy of my wife Jan’s book. I’d be happy to donate a copy to you/your staff that you could give away in your weekly trivia contest.

        Mahalo

        Big Al

        PS – Keep up the great writing that you and your staff send out each week. Your newsletter is the no BS voice within all the “white noise” of the RV industry hype out on the web

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