If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, there’s no reason to forego holiday travel. In fact, your loved one may be excited to see far-away family and friends. It just takes a bit more planning to allow for a successful trip. These tips can help ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Pre-planning for a Trip When a Loved One has Alzheimer’s
In the planning stages, opt for the familiar.
This includes familiar modes of travel and visiting familiar locations. Your loved one with Alzheimer’s may find comfort visiting places, family, and friends they knew well before the onset of their disease.
Plan your days to enable your loved one to stick to their usual routine as much as possible. Long days on the road, staying up late at parties, or straying too far from the normal routine can cause agitation and stress for people with Alzheimer’s.
Planning Where to Stay
Staying with friends and family may be preferable, as you might have more control over the environment. And it may feel more familiar to your loved one.
If you’re staying at a hotel, notify hotel staff of any special needs in advance.
How to Pack the Essentials
Traveling with an older adult who has Alzheimer’s requires careful packing. Be sure to include:
- An ample supply of all necessary medications, including over-the-counter medicines
- A complete list of their medications (if you are traveling by air, the airline may need to see these before you can bring prescription meds in carry-on luggage)
- An up-to-date medical history
- Copies of any legal information or documents such as a living will
- Activities to keep your loved one busy while you travel
Take Advantage of Conveniences that Come with Age
Call the airport and ask about TSA pre-check screening requirements. Individuals 75 and older may qualify for expedited screening.
If your loved one isn’t 75, they might still qualify for TSA pre-check screening, a paid service that allows participants to go through security faster and without removing jacket or shoes.
Even without paying for TSA Pre✓® your loved one may get special considerations if you notify the TSA representatives that your loved one has Alzheimer’s. They may be able to perform the security screening without separating your group.
Make sure to ask about senior discounts on airlines, hotels, and restaurants, too!
Know What to Expect
Be prepared for the possibilities of agitation, sundowning, and other challenges when traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It helps if you can be flexible in your schedule. It might mean canceling a day trip or cutting sightseeing outings short if your loved one isn’t up to it.
Try to plan your schedule around your loved one’s best and worst times of day.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Seniors with Alzheimer’s who are taken out of their typical surroundings are more prone to wandering. Consider downloading a tracking app on your loved one’s smart phone or using GPS jewelry so you can keep track of your loved one, especially in crowded places.
With the proper preparations, traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be rewarding and fun.
If your loved one isn’t up for the challenge of holiday travel, Five Star Senior Living offers respite care and short-term stays for older adults with Alzheimer’s. Call today to learn more!