As the holidays approach, you may be wondering whether or not it is appropriate to travel with your loved one with dementia. While travel is still possible for many people with dementia, it’s important to be thoughtful about this decision and whether or not your loved one will be truly safe and comfortable. In this article, we have outlined some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to travel with your loved one with dementia this holiday season.
Note: It is essential to understand that a person with dementia should never travel alone. It is far too disorienting for someone experiencing these symptoms to make decisions, follow directions, and interact with strangers. A caregiver must be with them every step of the way.
Signs It Isn’t Safe to Travel with Dementia
These are some clear indications that someone with dementia should not be traveling:
- Late-stage dementia
- Becoming confused, disoriented, or agitated, even when at home
- Being anxious or upset in crowds or loud places
- Expressing the desire to go home even on short outings
- Inappropriate, delusional, or paranoid behavior
- Screaming, crying, or yelling suddenly
- Other unstable medical conditions
Questions to Ask Yourself
In deciding whether or not to travel with your loved one, ask yourself these questions:
How advanced are their symptoms?
When in the early stages of dementia, it may be enjoyable for one to travel, but it gets trickier in the middle stages. It’s important to be realistic about their abilities and to err on the side of caution, as the symptoms can come and go during this time. If they are in the late-stage dementia, it is not advisable for them to travel.
How well are you dealing with their symptoms?
It’s also important think about how you’re coping with their dementia symptoms as well. It’s difficult to be a caregiver traveling with someone with dementia, even if you have been caring for them for a long time. A change in their routine, a new place, lack of sleep, and being surrounded by strangers are all triggers for both for people who do have dementia as well as those who don’t. If you’re feeling like you have a handle on your loved one’s symptoms, it’s a good sign that travel is an option. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, traveling may only add stress for you both.
How do they do in public?
When you’re out in public, does your loved one get confused, upset, angry, anxious, or frightened? Does their behavior become extreme or uncontrollable in crowded or loud places? How do they react when plans change suddenly? If they have a tough time in public, chances are, traveling will be very stressful for them.
How important is the trip?
Traveling with someone with dementia always comes with risks. Is this trip important enough to them to make the discomfort worth it? A trip for a memorable family event may be more worth the risk than a trip for fun..
How will you be traveling?
The means of transportation also is a factor to consider. Driving allows you greater flexibility and control, and therefore, may be better for someone with dementia. On the other hand, air travel can be stressful and unpredictable, and so, can often be more difficult for someone with dementia. If you must fly, short, direct flights will work better than anything with layovers.
At Gulf Shore Private Home Care, we offer private home care in Naples to many people with dementia. If you need a break from caregiving this holiday season, consider contacting us to come help your loved one while you rest and recuperate.