Elder Care, Dementia, and Transportation
Dementia is a term that generally refers to a loss of memory, problems with language, and reduced cognitive functioning, like problem solving and other kinds of thinking. Different types of dementia exist that impact different parts of the brain. For example, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia characterized by certain plaques (protein structures) that form in and around brain cells that make it difficult for brain cells to communicate with one another. Currently, there is no cure for dementia, and the disorder progressively gets worse with time.
If you are a family caregiver, then you are likely needed to step in and provide support in various ways. One common area in which caregivers need to help is transportation. Transportation, like driving or flying, can often be stressful for those living with dementia since a symptom of dementia is confusion and frustration. Loud environments, busy airports, new places, and so on can call trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, and even anger in those living with dementia. In this blog, we will go over transportation tips to help make travelling with your loved one easier and more pleasant.
According to the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, there are five basic questions to keep in mind:
- What are your loved one’s transportation needs? Since dementia is a disorder that progresses over time, those living in the early stages of the disorder may be able to travel independently. But those in the middle to late stages will not be able to do so. It is important, therefore, to figure out what are your loved one’s transportation needs, like where do they need to go and how often do they need to be there. Do they go to medical appointments often? Once you determine the frequency of their travel needs, create a schedule for your reference.
- What resources are in my area? Do a web search or talk to your local nurse registry, like Eldercare at Home to learn about all the aging resources in your area. For example, there is the Area Agency on Aging, as well as the Disability Resource Center for Independent Living.
- What types of transportation accommodations are best? Determine how you would like to help your loved one with their transportation needs. For example, you could hire someone to help transfer them from their home into your vehicle. Or, you can hire someone to stay with them for the duration of their ride.
- How to make travel more comfortable? Think about what your loved one needs and whether they can have it on them during their travel. Also, having someone accompany your loved one can be another way to ensure their safety and comfort.
- How can I trust the transporters? The NADTC recommends getting to know the people who are responsible for driving your loved one, and to ensure that they also get to know your loved one. The better the driver understands the needs for your loved one, the more prepared he or she can be. Also, this will allow you to exchange contact information with a driver so they can contact you if needed.
Next time, we will cover ways to prepare your loved one for travel, as well as what to do to help your loved one feel comfortable. If you have any questions, please feel free to call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website for more information.