Holiday travel tips for family members with dementia

(WETM) — Holiday travel is stressful for almost everyone, but for those with dementia, even trips to see family and friends can be challenging.

If you’re planning to make your way to visit family these holidays, consider the following tips that the Alzheimer’s Association has provided to make for a calmer trip for your loved one with dementia.

Choose the best method of travel

Make the trip more comfortable and less anxiety-inducing. Decide which method of travel will suit your loved one’s needs, abilities, safety and preferences the best.

Pick a practical destination

Elaborate trips and tours may cause anxiety and confusion for those who struggle with dementia. Instead, choose destinations that require minimal complexity and have easy access to emergency health services and pharmacies.

Simplify your itinerary

Try not to overwhelm your loved one with too many directions or too much information. Travel during the time of day that is best for them to ensure that they aren’t tired or agitated. Create an itinerary that you can share with emergency contacts and the people that you are visiting. Make sure to allow plenty of time for rest.

Keep travel necessities close by

If you’re traveling by plane, keep necessary medications, up-to-date medical information, a list of emergency contacts and copies of important documents in your carry-on bag. For long car trips, have water and snacks available.

Brief your host

If you’re staying with family or friends, make sure everyone knows what to expect. If you will be staying in a hotel, inform the staff ahead of time about any specific needs you may have so they can be prepared to assist you.

Be prepared

Changes in location and environment can cause anxiety and irritability in people who have dementia. These situations can also trigger wandering. Make sure to monitor your loved one closely for signs of stress or confusion, and keep them close in crowded and unfamiliar places.

For more tips and information on traveling with those who have dementia, visit alz.org.

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