Dad has Alzheimer’s, but you know he’d love a trip to visit family. You’ve planned the travel perfectly: the destination is no more than four hours away, you are traveling during his best hours of the day, and your itinerary allows for plenty of rest time. Now it’s time to pack.
Here are the 6 things you should definitely bring when traveling with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s:
1. A laminated card explaining Dad’s condition
Keep this with you and show this to anyone you will be dealing with, whether TSA employees at an airport or registration personnel at a hotel. This will discreetly inform them that you and Dad require special attention.
2. A location device
If Dad has a tendency to wander, it might be worth investing in one of the many location devices available for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Check this list on alzheimer’s.net for suggested devices.
3. Extra medication
You never know if your trip might be delayed for some reason. The last thing you want is to run out of medicine.
4. Important documentation
- A full list of all Dad’s medications and allergies
- Contact information for all of his doctors
- Emergency contact information
- Insurance cards
- Power of Attorney document
- Healthcare Proxy document
- Advance Directives document
Hopefully, you won’t need them. But if you do, it will make your life much easier to have them with you.
In case this packet of information gets lost, it’s worth taking photographs of each document, and keeping them on your phone.
5. Copies of your detailed itinerary
This should include where you are going and where you will be staying.
If traveling by plane, it should also include all flight information.
Keep a copy in Dad’s pocket at all times, as well as a copy for yourself.
In addition, send copies to all emergency contacts.
6. Comfort items
Many people with Alzheimer’s feel less anxious if they have certain familiar items with them. These might include their own pillow or blanket, or their favorite snacks. If Dad is distressed by loud noises, you might want to bring noise canceling headphones.
With proper planning, travel can be a rewarding experience to share with Dad. However, is important to recognize when it is no longer possible. If Dad’s Alzheimer’s has progressed to the point where he cannot travel — or even stay safely at home — it would be wise to consider a high-quality Memory Care program, such as Atlantic Coast Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, in Lakewood, NJ. Contact us by calling 732-364-7100 or by clicking here.