Ask the Expert! How Can I Travel With Someone Who Has Alzheimers?

Ask the Expert! How Can I Travel With Someone Who Has Alzheimers?

TravelingAsk the Alzheimer’s Expert is brought to you each week by Elayne Forgie and the Alzheimers’ Care Resource Center.

This weeks question is from a gentleman that would like to know how he can best travel with his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Answer ~ Good planning can make traveling easier in any situation but when traveling with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, good planning is essential. The most important thing to do is try to anticipate what your wife will need in advance and plan accordingly.

Be prepared for increased confusion or anxiety when traveling by plane or staying in a strange hotel.  Even if you are traveling and staying with family, increased agitation and an increased risk of wandering is possible.  Be alert for the warning signs so that you can help defuse the situation.

Here are some tips to help you plan ahead and some important things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to discuss your plans with your wife’s physician. He may decide to adjust her medications prior to the trip.  Be sure you have a full supply of any medications you will need for the entire length of time you will be away, and have extra, in case you are delayed returning home.
  • Travel during the day whenever possible.
  • Keep your wife’s daily routine as close to normal as possible
  • Don’t hesitate to call ahead to inform the airline and/or hotel about your specific needs and that you are traveling with someone who has Alzheimer’s
  • Avoid traveling alone with your wife by car, if you have any safety concerns. You can’t drive safely and calm her down at the same time.
  • If you do travel by car, be sure to stop at least every 4 – 5 hours and of course, never leave your wife alone in the car.
  • If you are traveling by air, try to book a direct flight and avoid short layovers.  Ask for a wheelchair if it will help make things easier.
  • If you are changing planes, ask your airline for assistance getting from one gate to another. They are usually happy to help.
  • When planning activities, be sure to allow for lots of extra time to prepare to leave and for the activity itself.
  • In the event of an emergency or if you become ill or incapacitated, make sure to have a copy of your itinerary, all contact information, list of medications and physicians, for yourself and for your wife.

Although traveling with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease can pose a few challenges, with good planning and cooperation from family and friends, you should enjoy your trip!

For more information or to submit your question in confidence to Ask the Expert, complete the form below.

Be sure to include your email address so I can respond!

Ask the Expert: