Learning that someone you love has dementia can be extremely difficult. For some people, the idea of making memories before the symptoms of dementia worsen or progress seems like a great way to live in the moment and show your loved one how much you care. While it can be a fantastic idea to get away with your family members after a dementia diagnosis, it’s important to go into your trip prepared. For four things to consider before traveling with someone who has dementia, read on.
1. Understanding the Diagnosis
Before traveling with someone who has dementia, it’s a good idea to fully understand their diagnosis. The last thing you want to do is be traveling across the United States on a tour of historic areas and find yourself confused when it comes to your loved one’s needs or behaviors. Consider asking to meet with their doctors to get questions answered about dementia stages and your loved one’s needs.
While there, talk to their doctor about ways you can travel safely. For some people, getting a 24-hour fitness center membership in a chain is a great way to know you’ll have showers and other accommodations available on road trips. For others, finding a hotel or Airbnb in a great place with plush bedding and security will be more important. Depending on your family member or friend’s symptoms, you’ll be able to pick the best place for your trip.
2. Hotel and Accommodation Shopping
As you Google search Saint Augustine hotels or New York City motels with spacious rooms, be sure to check to see that the place you’ll be staying in has free wifi and is close enough to top attractions that you’ll be able to make the most of your time. While healthy choices when it comes to accommodations are obviously important, a cheap hotel just outside of a major city downtown could be a better option if the person you love needs space to move around or suffers from anxiety when it comes to cognitive decline.
When possible, have an honest conversation with the person you love who suffers from dementia as you plan your trip. They may be able to give you their preferences and consider things you haven’t thought of. Instead of making all the decisions for them, asking them for input could be a good way to plan.
3. Packing for the Trip
Be sure to pack medical equipment and everything you and your companion will need for your trip. Going straight to your destination and having snacks and meals for travel will be easier than trying to get last-minute supplies during your travels. Again, speaking to doctors or caretakers about your loved one’s daily needs may help create the perfect packing list for your trip.
4. Taking it Slow
Being aware of our loved one’s cognitive and physical limitations is especially important when traveling with someone with dementia. Living in the moment and being open to changing plans based on your family member’s mood or symptoms is a must.
Being open-minded and spontaneous to adapt to your family member’s needs will not only make your trip easier but could lead to the creation of unexpected memories along the way. Do what you can to have fun with it instead of being rigid with plans.
At the end of the day, memory loss, cognitive decline, changes in personality, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Lew Bodies Disease are all difficult conditions to accept and can be hard on caregivers, too. When planning a trip with a loved one in any stage of dementia, it’s important to do what you can to live in the moment and take care of yourself the same way you will your loved one. Your trip will be better if you’re open-minded and patient with yourself, too.