Many times people assume that once a diagnosis of dementia has been made, traveling is no longer an option. Or, on the other hand some people assume that even though a diagnosis of dementia has been made, the person diagnosed will continue to want to travel in the same manner that they always have. Neither of these assumptions are necessarily true. As we wrap up our holiday season, here are a few tips about traveling with dementia that may be helpful along the way.
A few things to remember:
- Many of us have probably experienced the brief disorientation that comes with waking up in a hotel room when traveling and having to think “Now where am I again?” A person with memory loss may feel this way often on the trip, or for longer – you’ll want to be ready to remind and reassure them of where they are and where you’re going/why.
- Be sure to pack your patience as well as your sense of humor and adventure! You’ll also want to be sure to pack things that make the person with dementia feel the most comfortable/relaxed – favorite clothes, relaxing music for car rides and any other favorite items that may be comforting.
- Be ready to take breaks from traveling and activities so that the person with dementia can “re-charge” as/if needed.
- Try to stick to the person’s normal routine as much as possible when traveling – keep bathroom breaks, mealtimes and rest times according to the normal schedule if at all possible.
Documents to Take with You when Traveling
- Doctors’ names and contact information
- A list of current medications and dosages
- Phone numbers and addresses of the local police and fire departments, hospitals and poison control
- A list of food or drug allergies
- Copies of legal papers (living will, advanced directives, power of attorney, etc.)
- Names and contact information of friends and family members to call in case of an emergency
- Insurance information (policy number, member name)
- The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline Number: 800-272-3900