If you’re looking for senior travel trips, they all sort of fit under one umbrella: plan ahead. We’re happy to share this blog on senior travel trips from Diane Atwood via Advantage Home Care.

  • Have a bag of essentials with you at all times that includes medications, travel itinerary, a comfortable change of clothes, water, snacks and activities.
  • Pack necessary medications, up-to-date medical information, a list of emergency contacts and photocopies of important legal documents.
  • Create an itinerary that includes details about each destination. Give copies to emergency contacts at home. Keep a copy of your itinerary with you at all times.
  • If you will be staying in a hotel, inform the staff ahead of time of your specific needs so they can be prepared to assist you.
  • Travel during the time of day that is best for the person with dementia.

Senior Travel Tips: When does it make more sense to stay home?

senior travel tips include planning aheadTraveling is usually a lot easier when the person is in the earlier stages of dementia. Here are some useful senior travel tips to help you decide if staying at home makes more sense.

Does the person:

  • become anxious or agitated in new environments or around new people?
  • constantly ask to go home even during short visits or trips?
  • act verbally or physically abusive?
  • have a problem with continence?
  • wander?
  • have great difficulty walking or have a risk of falling?
  • need help with things like dressing, going to the bathroom, bathing, eating?
  • have other serious medical issues and/or need a physician’s ok to travel?

Senior Travel tips for folks living with dementia

Obviously, try to schedule flights for less busy days, and make flights non-stop if at all possible.

Here are some other senior travel tips:
If the trip is a go and it’s going to be a long ride in the car, consider taking some short trips ahead of time to troubleshoot potential problems.

  • Honor the person’s usual schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Routine is critical, so if it is disrupted, expect there to be some agitation or increased confusion.
  • Bring along familiar items, especially things that are soothing for the person: soft comfort items, special activities, books, pictures or favorite scented lotions. Be sure clothing is comfortable.
  • Always allow for extra time.
  • People with dementia often have better times of the day; try to schedule activities (driving, for instance) during those better times when the person is rested, fed and comfortable.
  • Don’t try to pack too much into one day. It may make more sense to break up a long drive with an overnight stay along the way. Rest can be critical (for both of you).
  • Make sure the person is carrying or wearing some form of identification that includes your cell phone number. A Safe Return bracelet is a great option.
  • Take a photograph of your loved one so you’ll know what clothes he/she is wearing … just in case. In fact, take pictures along the way so you can document your trip and enjoy looking at them later.
  • Carry all important documents yourself — tickets, passports, etc.
  • In the airport, use family or handicapped restrooms if you’re concerned about your person using it alone and be cautious about letting him/her wait outside when you’re using the restroom.
  • On the plane, try to get a seat close to the restroom.
  • If you have special needs, let the airline know. Consider letting the flight attendants know you are traveling with someone who has dementia.
  • Carry as few bags as possible or have them checked straight through.
  • Breathe
  • Smile even if you don’t feel like it. It’s amazing how quickly a smile can turn things around.

Senior Travel Tips: You’ve reached your destination

Traveling is usually stressful for everybody, but especially when you’re with someone who has dementia. No matter what stage your loved one is in, it’s important to plan ahead and take the necessary precautions.

Hopefully, it will be an uneventful, enjoyable trip — one that continues after you arrive at your destination. Do everything you can to make strange places more familiar. Expect to be tired, and remember that might cause setbacks. Remember that emotional memory lingers, both good and bad. Do everything with an eye to creating positive experiences and feelings.

Need some help?

Could you use an extra hand getting your loved one packed and ready for a holiday visit? Advantage Home Care can help. If you’ve decided that traveling with him/her is not a good idea, we also provide respite care so you can still go. Send us an email or give us a call at (207) 699-2570 or toll free: 1-888-846-1410.

Do you have any senior travel tips to share? We love hearing from you! Senior travel tips was originally published as part of the Advantage Home Care newsletter.