Traveling with the person with dementia can be daunting for the patient and caregiver and may have the risk of not going as planned. But with some pre-planning and preparation, some of the potential pitfalls can be avoided.
Consider visiting places the person with dementia is accustomed to visiting. The memories that will be triggered at a familiar place will give comfort and joy.
Realistic expectations and flexibility
Traveling with the person with dementia may not always go as planned. Be flexible and bring along activity items that can be used to re-direct energy when needed.
Avoid large crowds
Fairs and large family events may be too overwhelming. Visit places at off-times.
Keep it simple
One or two stops with the flexibility to end it when needed may work best.
Timing and routine
Consider traveling during the person's best time of day. Maintain routines as much as possible - meal times, sleep times, etc.
Do not leave the person with dementia alone in unfamiliar areas. He/she should have an identification bracelet. Keep the car doors locked to keep the person inside when necessary, such as waiting in traffic.
With some planning, vacation time can provide enjoyable moments and fun for both the person with dementia and the caregiver.
Article adapted from Vacationing: Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter