Summertime is the time for vacations and weekend getaways. If you are planning to bring a family member with dementia, there a few things you can do to make the trip go smoothly.

The most important thing is to PLAN AHEAD.

Learn the warning signs of anxiety and agitation and have a plan to address them. One way to keep anxiety low is to plan downtime during your vacation. If you are traveling by car, stop every 2-3 hours for a bathroom break, to stretch your legs, and grab food or a snack you packed. If you are traveling by air, bring snacks and fly a non-stop flight if possible. If you have a layover, make sure there is time to get between flights without rushing. Also, travel during your family member’s best time of day to avoid problems.

Being in a strange place can trigger wandering and confusion. It is better to travel to a known destination and stick with the established daily routine. The less change, the better. When considering a location, pick a place with easy access to medical facilities and a pharmacy.

Carry an itinerary and give one to your family member. This should be detailed and include information about each destination, sightseeing trips, and other events during the trip. Be sure to schedule some downtime during the day so your family member doesn’t get too tired as this can lead to agitation, increased confusion, and anxiety.

What to bring with you in your carry-on:

  • Medication (bring 2 extra days)
  • A list of medications with name, dosage, and frequency
  • A list of medical diagnosis
  • A list of food and drug allergies
  • Travel itinerary
  • Change of clothes
  • Gloves, and disposable briefs if your family member is incontinent
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Activities that can be done in the car or on the plane
  • A list of doctor’s names and contact information
  • Emergency contacts with their information
  • Copies of Power or Attorney or Guardianship papers
  • Copy of Living Will
  • Medical insurance cards
  • Bring a photo ID

It is possible to have an enjoyable getaway with a family member who has dementia. All it takes is a little planning.

Reach out, today, to or call us at 480-804-7200 to learn how we can help assess and recommend solutions for your aging loved ones.

Sources: Alzheimer’s Association and AARP