Navigating Travel With A Loved One Experiencing Middle-Stage Dementia

If a loved one is living with dementia, it doesn’t mean family holidays must be skipped. Whether you’re visiting a cottage for a long weekend or you’re heading farther afield for a wedding or family reunion.

While travelling during the early stages of dementia is absolutely possible, in the middle stages, it might become more challenging to determine whether a family vacation is both safe and viable; you might find that seeking out reliable dementia care options is a sounder and more comfortable option for your loved one.

It’s vital to plan ahead, and factor in a few variables before you consider travelling with a loved one who’s experiencing the middle stages of dementia and whether or not doing so is a sensible decision.

Dementia Symptoms That May Make Travel Difficult Or Unsafe

Dementia Symptoms That May Make Travel Difficult Or Unsafe

Dementia is a multi-faceted disease, with different symptoms presenting throughout the different stages of the illness. Some of these make travelling — even with company — unsafe, overwhelming, and unpleasant for your loved one. Some such symptoms include.

  • Wandering syndrome. Being in a new location may cause more extreme wandering.
  • A change in time zones and different daylight hours can exacerbate sundowning.
  • If your loved one is prone to frustration, unfamiliar surroundings could irritate and confuse them.
  • If they are unstable on their feet and with their balance, this could be worsened by exhaustion from travelling and heightened social activity.
  • Side Effects. New medications may have unexpected behavioural side effects that manifest during the stress of travel.
  • If your loved one becomes anxious or overwhelmed by crowds or noise, travelling in crowded places (like airports) might be disastrous.
  • Travelling can exacerbate symptoms of paranoia and generalized stress.

If your loved one has experienced any of these symptoms, travel might be a step too far for them. Connect with their doctor for their professional opinion and insight. It very well may be that staying in the comfort of their own home with help from a specialized caregiver is the safer and more comfortable option.

Pre-Trip Planning

If you’ve established that a family vacation is viable, some pre-trip measures can help to lay the foundations of a successful voyage. Here are some tips:

  • Streamline the amount of vehicle travel. Travelling by car is ideal. If a plane, train, or bus is necessary, minimize transfers and layovers, which can be tiring.
  • Try not to express any stress you might have when it comes to your travel plans.
  • If it’s possible, go to a familiar accommodation, whether it’s a hotel you’ve visited before or a cottage you’ve rented in the past.
  • Remember to bring pertinent medical information, like prescriptions, medical history, your doctor’s information, and insurance details. It’s also a good idea to research and take note of the closest health services.
  • Try to keep your everyday activities and routines, like breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime, as close to normal as possible.
  • Don’t overdo it. Try not to go overboard with a jam-packed itinerary. Take plenty of time for rest and relaxation.

The Takeaway

When someone is living with a disease like dementia, it doesn’t mean that they have to skip important family events, like vacations. By planning ahead and being honest with your evaluation of your loved one’s comfort and abilities, it’s more than possible to create a wonderful family memory and a very special, joyful experience for your loved one.

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Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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