For a healthy individual, the changes of scenery and pace that come with vacation travel, even on short jaunts, can be a refreshing way to unwind and renew one’s spirit. For those who suffer from any form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, changes of place and surroundings can sometimes present unwanted anxiety and confusion. When care is taken, in many cases these challenges can be overcome or worked around with a little ingenuity.
Just because a person has Alzheimer’s shouldn’t have to mean that he or she must miss out on vacations and travel. However, for Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers, advance planning is the key to being prepared and making sure that travel plans will be enjoyable for everyone involved. First and foremost, it is important to decide whether or not travel is feasible at all, and if so, just how much can be tolerated. Following are some great tips on how to evaluate whether the older adult in your life can cope with the travel plans you are hoping to make.
For those who are unsure if their loved one can handle longer vacation plans, taking a “staycation” in a hotel close to home, or going out for lunch or dinner at a local restaurant might be a good way to test how your loved one responds to short periods of being away from home. If he or she handles these short trips well, gradually try making day trips a little longer than the time before. This will help you judge just how much time away is okay.
If you do plan for a longer trip, be sure to arrange for special accommodations such as wheelchairs in the airport and early boarding for your flight. And don’t forget to allow for plenty of time for your loved one to rest while on your trip. Also take care to plan your activities around your loved one’s “best time of day” and allow him or her to rest often, as fatigue can tend to amplify confusion and anxiety.
This article from the Huffington Post outlines more helpful tips for traveling with Alzheimer’s.
If it turns out that your loved one can’t travel for long periods of time without it causing a marked increase in his or her anxiety and confusion, it’s probably better that he or she does not make longer trips at all. However, family caregivers still need to take some time away from the responsibilities and challenges of providing care. It might be time to arrange for a professional caregiver to care for your loved one at home while you take a few days to get away on your own or with friends.
If you have a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, home care services from Regency Home Care of North Atlanta can help. Our compassionate caregivers can encourage participation in stimulating activities, provide bathing, dressing, and grooming assistance, respite care for family caregivers, and much more. Contact us to learn how our Alzheimer’s care team can improve your loved one’s quality of life right away.