With the approaching holiday season or anytime travel is necessary for a loved one with dementia, preparation is key. For this piece, we’re going to cover how you can prepare them as well as yourself for this undertaking.
Preparing Your Loved One with Dementia for Travel
Assemble What They May Need
While it’s important to never compare traveling with a child to the experience of traveling with an adult with cognitive decline, there are some similarities that may make preparing to travel with them easier for you. For this, you will need to simply sit and imagine all possible scenarios and make a list of items that would make the experience easier for them. This may include a change of clothes in case of any messes, items that will help them feel calm, or favorite snacks. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of their doctors’ phone numbers and their medications handy in case you need them on your journey.
Assemble Safety Items
Because dementia patients deal best with the familiar routines of life, new experiences of traveling can be quite difficult for them. In addition to keeping items handy that will calm them down, make sure that they possess some form of wearable identification at all times. Usually, a bracelet with their name, condition, and your phone number is helpful in case you become separated for any reason. This sounds unnecessary as you never plan to be away from them, however, if they become lost in an airport terminal, travel stop, or other place, someone else’s ability to contact you is critical.
Preparing Yourself for Traveling with a Dementia Patient
Expect the Best. Plan for the Worst.
There’s no reason to let a loved one’s condition give you immense anxiety about traveling with them. With this being said, planning for almost any scenario will help you to respond instead of reacting impulsively. Imagine potentially difficult moments and plan how you will respond beforehand. This can help you prepare to act stoically and think rationally when emotions run high.
Plan For Interactions With Others
Interacting with new people on your travels can be both a blessing as well as a curse. The blessing may be meeting new people who share their experiences. The curse may be that these people may not understand what your loved one or you are presently experiencing and may not be as sensitive. For this reason, it’s important to plan how you respond to these people if your loved one has any form of an inadvertent incident that draws attention to them or offends others.
One approach is to simply not care about what others think—your loved one can’t help much of their negative behavior and you will likely never see this stranger ever again. Another approach, especially handy when time is short, is keeping a small stack of cards in your pocket that explains that your loved one has dementia and certainly did not intend to offend them. Whether you choose to inform strangers of the reason for your loved one’s possible outburst or not, it’s important that you remember that their reaction doesn’t matter nearly as much as your own response to the situation.
Though traveling may be difficult with a loved one suffering from dementia, the greatest gift you can give yourself in these moments is to be fully present with them every step of the way.
Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, OK
If you’re looking for nurturing and professional hospice or palliative care services in Tulsa, Oklahoma, look no further than the friendly services from Cura HPA Hospice & Palliative Care.