Family vacations can be a wonderful way to bring everyone together for some much needed rest and relaxation. But, when traveling with an elderly family member who has special needs due to debilitating disease or dementia, it’s important to plan ahead and take special care to ensure that everyone stays safe and happy during your trip.
Keep these tips in mind as you plan your next family vacation with your elder loved one.
- Make a Plan. Create a detailed itinerary of where you plan to go and what you plan to do throughout your trip, so your loved one feels more prepared. Go over the itinerary with them and keep copies on hand. If possible, choose a destination that is already familiar to them, in order to minimize the stress and disorientation they feel.
- Be Prepared. When traveling with a loved one who suffers from dementia, be sure to have a bag of essentials handy at all times, including medications, a list of emergency contacts, your travel itinerary, water, snacks, etc. Be sure you’ve packed enough medication for their entire trip, along with an updated medical record and any important legal documents.
- Consider Their State of Mind. When traveling with your loved one, be considerate of their mindset. Be patient with them if they get confused or overwhelmed. Also, be aware that being in an unfamiliar environment can trigger wandering behaviors in dementia patients. Keep your loved one close and take special precautions to make sure they stay there.
- Be Mindful of Physical Limitations. Traveling can be stressful for anyone, but especially for those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. According to an article from the Alzheimer’s Association, families should take care when deciding whether or not their elderly loved one can handle the challenges of travel. Consider the special needs of your loved one and also to what stage their disease has progressed. Early on, dementia patients may be perfectly capable of handling a vacation and could even benefit from one. However, if they already experience significant disorientation in their normal environment, dragging them along to an unfamiliar place may make things worse.
Decide if Travel is Right for Your Loved One.
You may need some additional assistance when on vacation with your senior loved one and that is when a home health aide can be a godsend. Consider taking your regular aide if you already have one or contacting a local agency to help provide one for you on locale.
At the David York Agency, we are dedicated to providing the resources, advice, and high-quality home healthcare services that can make caring for your aging loved one more manageable, whether you’re at home or on the road. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers and how they can help your family on your next vacation, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the support you need.