Traveling with aging parents living with dementia can be a challenging experience. On one hand, you want to create memorable experiences with your loved ones, but on the other hand, you need to consider their safety and well-being. Here are 7 tips for making the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Planning ahead is crucial when traveling with aging parents living with dementia. Before your trip, research your destination and make a list of any potential hazards or challenges that may arise. Be sure to pack any necessary medications and personal items, such as hearing aids or dentures. If your loved one has a specific routine or schedule, try to stick to it as closely as possible to avoid confusion or agitation.
Consider the Mode of Transportation
Consider the mode of transportation when traveling with aging parents living with dementia. Long flights or car rides can be stressful for individuals with dementia, so consider shorter trips or breaks during the journey. If flying, request any necessary accommodations, such as wheelchair assistance or priority boarding. If driving, make sure your loved one is comfortable and has access to any necessary amenities, such as a restroom or snacks.
Choose Appropriate Activities
Choose appropriate activities that are enjoyable and manageable for your loved one. Avoid activities that are too physically or mentally demanding, as they may cause frustration or confusion. Instead, consider low-impact senior activities such as visiting museums or enjoying a scenic drive. If possible, try to involve your loved one in the planning process to ensure they feel included and engaged.
Keep a Familiar Routine
Keep a familiar routine as much as possible to help your loved one feel comfortable and secure. Try to maintain a consistent schedule for meals, bedtime, and other daily activities. Bring along familiar items, such as a favorite blanket or book, to help your loved one feel more at home in a new environment.
Stay in Elderly-Friendly Accommodations
Stay in elderly-friendly accommodations that are designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with dementia. Look for hotels or resorts that offer memory care services or specialized accommodations, such as wheelchair accessibility or grab bars in the bathroom. Consider staying in a vacation rental or Airbnb to provide more space and privacy for your loved one.
Enlist the Help of a Professional Caregiver
Enlist the help of a professional caregiver to provide additional support and assistance during your trip. A trained caregiver can help with activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing, and can provide companionship and emotional support. Having a caregiver on hand can also provide peace of mind for you and other family members.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Be prepared for emergencies by carrying a list of important phone numbers, such as your loved one’s doctor or emergency contacts. Make sure your loved one has a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and keep a copy of their medical history and medications on hand. If traveling internationally, consider purchasing travel health insurance to ensure your loved one has access to medical care if needed.
Traveling with aging parents living with dementia requires careful planning and consideration. By following these 7 tips, you can create a safe and enjoyable travel experience for everyone involved. Remember to plan ahead, consider the mode of transportation, choose appropriate activities, keep a familiar routine, stay in elderly-friendly accommodations, enlist the help of a professional caregiver, and be prepared for emergencies.