Palliative care staff in Los Angeles understand that traveling with a loved one who has dementia can be a difficult task. Still, there may be an instance when taking a trip away from home cannot be shipped out on. Whether you are going to a family event that you just can’t miss or you need a change of scenery, these tips can help you reduce frustration and enjoy your break.
Dementia is not one disease but instead an overall term such as heart disease that covers a comprehensive range of particular medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Disorders categorized under the generic term “dementia” are a result of abnormal brain changes. These changes trigger a reduction in thinking skills, also known as cognitive abilities, severe enough to impair everyday life and independent function. Also, they affect feelings, behavior, and relationships.
Alzheimer’s disease makes up 60-80% of cases. Vascular dementia, which happens because of microscopic bleeding and blood vessel blockage in the brain, is the second most common cause of dementia. Individuals who experience the brain changes of numerous types of dementia at the same time have mixed dementia. Many other conditions can result in dementia symptoms, consisting of some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Typically, dementia is incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” reflecting the formerly general but incorrect understanding that severe mental decline is a normal part of aging.
Set Aside Extra Time – And Keep Travel Time To A Minimum
When traveling with a loved one who has dementia, bear in mind that they are most likely going to need some extra time to feel comfortable in a new environment. Palliative care physicians and hospice care staff in Los Angeles explain that it is crucial to tackle the whole trip with patience and allow them time wherever you can in between any events you are attending at your destination.
Again, palliative care doctors in Los Angeles suggest that you restrict your travel time to less than four hours. If you have to travel far away, try to bring another caregiver with you and get activities ready to keep your loved one occupied during the journey. Along the same lines, palliative care professionals in Los Angeles recommend you take a direct flight wherever you can to avoid delayed connections and unnecessary distress. Plus, you can ask the airline about pre-boarding to give your loved one more time to get used to the plane and its surroundings before takeoff.
Take Medications And Documents With You
When you set out, make sure to take important documents with you, such as a list of medications, physician information, and their dosage and schedule, a list of your loved one’s food allergies, emergency contact information, and insurance information. Plus, it’s advisable to jot down a full travel itinerary and keep it on hand. If you are flying, do not pack your loved one’s medications in checked baggage – make sure to carry them with you.
If the person with dementia is susceptible to straying away, make them wear an identification bracelet or put their name somewhere on their clothing in addition to your contact number and put a list of their medical conditions and information in their pocket or wallet.
Additionally, it is an excellent idea to keep a recent photo of your loved one with you in case you get separated at the airport, gas station, or anywhere else and need help from others to find one another.
If you are apprehensive about public interactions, you can keep a card with you that summarizes your loved one’s details about their dementia and show it to other travelers or airline staff to avoid frustration and possible embarrassment.
When someone has dementia, the best thing for them is consistency, so be sensible with your travel plans. Travelling can be a hurried and pressured event, so make sure that you plan some pauses to provide your loved ones the quiet time they need to re-energize. For instance, arrive early before your scheduled flight and sit down together somewhere undisturbed for 20 minutes to relax before boarding, or break up a long road trip by stopping at a quiet diner to eat. This will help both of you to mellow out.
Don’t be shy to ask your airline or travel company about any special accommodations they can offer to caregivers who are traveling with a loved one who has dementia. Agents could help you book seats with more legroom or closer to a bathroom, or let you board early, so you’re not getting on the plane when all the commotion usually happens when everyone is trying to find their seats.
Someone in the early stages of dementia will probably have a simpler time with travel than individuals who have advanced dementia, according to hospice staff in Los Angeles. Suppose your loved one is at a stage where they show verbal or physical aggression, have a tendency to fall, or act delusional or disinhibited. In that case, it is recommended not to travel with them wherever you can.
Try To Keep Surroundings Familiar And Keep Routines
People with Alzheimer’s and dementia often find new environments challenging. Although there is not much you can do to make your destination look entirely like home, it can help bring familiar items that remind them of home along with you on your journeys, such as a favorite pillow or blanket.
Also, you have to keep as much of their regular routine as possible. Despite the fact, this may be hard while you’re traveling, at the very least possible, try to maintain your mealtime and bedtime schedules similar to those you have at home. If you can schedule your drives or flights around these times, it could help keep turmoil at bay.
Stay In A Hotel
If you are traveling to see relatives, it is probably best to stay in a hotel instead of with family members. Some family members who are not used to being around a person with dementia may not know what to expect.
Furthermore, a hotel is better at providing your loved ones with a calm place where they can unwind when the trip gets too hectic and overwhelming. Also, it may be simpler to abide by the usual routine in a hotel; let the hotel staff know ahead of time if you have any special needs.