Dementia and Traveling for Winter Holidays
Traveling during the holidays is common, and if you are a family caregiver, you may have to travel with the loved one you are caring for. In this blog, we would like to go over some tips that you should keep in mind when you are traveling with your loved one. Traveling can pose some challenges as a caregiver, but with careful and thoughtful planning, you can make the process seamless and manageable. The kinds of challenges you might encounter are negative emotions from your loved one because they are in unfamiliar environments. Unfamiliar places can often be overwhelming for your loved one and can cause confusion and aggravation. As a result, you may have to respond to a negative situation in a place where you are less prepared, which can be challenging. To avoid complications, you have to plan ahead.
Consider these tips:
- Planning the Mode of Transportation: Determine what would be the easiest way to take your loved one on a long-distance trip. Is traveling in a car the best way? How have they handled car trips for shorter periods? Maybe flying is the easier solution. You know your loved one and their associated sensitivities the best, so just be mindful of these things when choosing your mode of transportation.
- Know Who to Call and Where to Go: Many times, going to a new environment means you are less familiar with the kinds of resources that exist in the area. In this case, it will be helpful to know what is available to you in that new location. For instance, where is the nearest hospital in relation to where you are staying? Where can you refill prescriptions for your loved one if necessary? Are there local agencies that can help you respond to emergencies when necessary? It will be crucial to find out all of this information before you leave.
- Make Transitions Smooth: People with degenerative neurological disease often respond negatively to new environments. These negative emotions can happen in familiar environments like your own home. So, being in new environments like airports, cars, new states, etc. will increase the potential for negative reactions. For example, if you have to go to an airport, ensure that your loved one is away from chaotic crowds and loud noises. These types of environments can be very overwhelming for them. Try to contact the airport beforehand to see if you can have assistance navigating the airport easily and to help your loved get onto a plane early, etc. The strategy is to minimize potential for negative behaviors in your loved one, like feelings of frustration, confusion, and anxiety.
- Organize Medications: Consider how many days you are staying with your loved one in a new location, then, with this timeframe in mind, organize any prescribed medicines they have to take. It can be helpful to buy pill organizers that are separated by day in order to minimize confusion as a result of carrying around multiple pill bottles. If necessary, you may have to buy multiple pill organizers to keep track of what your loved one is taking at different times of day. Whatever kind of system you want to create is up to you, just make sure you understand it and can keep track of it.
Traveling can be stressful, and being a caregiver on top of that makes matters more challenging. Hopefully, these tips were helpful for you. If you have any more questions, please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!