Judson Haims: traveling with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

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For approximately 30 years, the Alzheimer’s Association has promoted the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease. Currently, there are over 600 communities in the United States participating in fundraising to support research and promote awareness. The Eagle County March is Saturday.

The holidays will be here soon. If COVID-19 doesn’t derail our plans, many families could put everyone in the car or take a flight to another part of the country. While it should be an exciting and fun time for the family, there are parts that can sometimes cause anxiety.

Traveling isn’t always easy, but it can be especially difficult when a family member has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Changes in routine and long road trips can be too much for a loved one with dementia to handle.



The following guide, which includes advice from the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Services and the Alzheimer’s Association, will hopefully be educational and help reduce travel stress for you and your family.

Packaging

– Make sure you have a comfortable change of clothes, plenty of water, as well as the necessary food and / or medicine.



– Bring a complete list of phone numbers. These should include emergency contact numbers, your loved one’s doctor, emergency services in areas you pass through and / or travel to, and contact numbers for your hotel or accommodation. .

– Consider giving your loved one a piece of identification that they can carry or keep with them. You may also want to consider signing up for portable tracking programs such as MedicAlert or the Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program.

Planning

– Create an itinerary for your trip.

– Plan for delays and give yourself lots of extra time. Call ahead to your destination to see if they can accommodate early arrivals. This will reduce the risk of stressful situations.

– Plan familiar routes and destinations wherever possible.

– Plan to limit or avoid stressful situations like short connection times altogether.

Traveling

– Avoid expressions of irritation or anger as much as possible. Stress can be contagious, especially in confined environments like a car or airplane.

– Try to travel with more than one caregiver if possible so that it is easier to take care of and keep an eye on your loved one.

– Avoid traveling with people who will irritate or stress your loved one.

– If your loved one is agitated while you are driving, stop. Trying to calm them down while driving is dangerous and counterproductive.

Overnight accommodation

– If you are staying in a hotel, motel or resort, inform the management and staff with whom you will regularly deal with the situation of your loved one.

– If you are staying with family or friends, make sure they are aware of your loved one’s needs in advance. Not everyone knows the best way to treat people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, so it’s wise to speak with people one on one and cover your loved one’s specific needs and tendencies.

Remember, when traveling with someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Plan carefully, be prepared for potential emergencies, and do all you can to reduce or eliminate stress and discomfort. And if you have an elderly care provider you can count on for advice or preparation help, don’t hesitate to ask for their help.

If you’re interested in doing your part to find a cure, please join the Alzheimer’s Association Visiting Angels for the Alzheimer’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday as we help raise funds for research and l education on Alzheimer’s disease. It will hopefully be a great weekend, so come walk and support the cause.

If you would like to help organize the event, please contact Catie Davis immediately at 303-813-1669 ext. 9613 or email him at [email protected]. Join the Walk and support the cause – it will be a fun time.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our seniors and is available to answer questions. His coordinates are http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.


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