An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is a life-altering moment that seriously affects one’s plans for their own future as well as their emotional well-being. One of the most important aspects of coping with this disease is to rediscover fun activities and places that help you relax.
Traveling is a great way to relax and relieve stress. You, as a patient or your loved ones battling the condition, may worry about the practicality of traveling with this disease. Here are a few tips on traveling with Alzheimer’s.
Be sure to check with your healthcare professional before booking any travel plans, to make sure you or your loved one are healthy enough to take a trip.
Planning Your Holiday
Planning a holiday to take with loved ones or caregivers can help alleviate the stress that comes with unfamiliar surroundings. First there are a couple questions to answer just so you have a clear goal on what kind of vacation you are looking for.
Are you traveling independently or will family/friends be accompanying you? Will you be staying with friends and relatives or at a hotel? People who are familiar and close to the person with Alzheimer’s can help to make them comfortable in unfamiliar settings. If you find that you must stay at a hotel, opt for a smaller hotel that is out of the main focal points of the city you are traveling to. Being stuck in a bustling part of the city with a mass amount of tourists would be a far from ideal situation. Whether you are traveling alone or with others, be sure to alert the hotel of your special needs.
Important Documents and Identification
Make sure that you always have with you important documents such as food allergies, a list of current medications and dosages, emergency contact information and physician contacts. When going to a new town, be sure to do your due diligence on local doctors and hospital contacts. You don’t want to find yourself in an unfamiliar area with no knowledge of the area’s physicians.
Another important factor is to always ensure that your or your loved one has an identification bracelet or some other form of identification on their person at all times. This is especially important if you have the tendency of wandering off. Put your contacts in their wallet just in case.
Keep the journey simple
When booking your flight or mode of transportation, try and make it as direct as possible. This means limiting the layovers and flight connections which are even stressful to the a person without a memory impairment, but can be horribly overwhelming to a person with Alzheimer’s. Remember that airports, terminals, and stations are busy places that can disorientate and stress a person in this condition. It might be worth considering travel at the least busy times. Lastly, there are airlines that allow for early boarding. This can further help to create a comfortable, less-stressful environment. If your travel time is longer than four hours, be sure to have at least two caregivers and come with entertainment to keep the loved one occupied.
Know Your Rights
The challenges that come with Alzheimer’s and its symptomatic dementia are a disability. It is important to understand what the law defines as discrimination against persons with disabilities in all scenarios. For example, businesses and vehicles are required by law to provide easy access to and usage of their services by persons with disabilities by installing features such as ramps. Knowing your rights can help you avoid extra charges that are illegal as well as knowing what to ask for. Remember, disability rights differ from country to country.
Medication and Insurance
Make sure to always have medication in your hand luggage. If refrigeration is required ask in advance. It is also important to ensure that you have travel insurance that will cover any eventualities and emergencies.
Be realistic in your expectations
Due to the challenges the disease poses, it is easier to travel with a person in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s than one who is in the later stages. In addition, your loved one may require a substantial amount of time to get familiar with new surroundings. Be prepared to factor in this extra time in your travel plan to make the most comfortable situation possible.
After you get back from your vacation, schedule a tour of one of the beautiful senior care communities from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Alzheimer’s can be an extremely difficult disease to deal with both physically and emotionally. We try to provide revitalization for our residents, offering a fresh start in a beautiful community. Take a tour of a Concordia location near you today. You can also call our administrative headquarters at 1-888-352-1571 or message us through the Contact form on our website.
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