When a loved one has dementia, planning to travel most likely doesn’t even get a look on your list of priorities. However, just because a loved one receives a dementia diagnosis, it doesn’t mean finding enjoyment in life has to come to an end. Even though there are different barriers to overcome when planning to travel, the benefits of travel for dementia can easily outweigh the work involved. Below, we tell you how to safely travel with loved ones that have dementia.
An Overview of Travel Therapy
Dementia impacts the mind by dampening decision-making capabilities, limiting cognitive abilities, and changing a person’s memory. When it gets worse, processing smell, taste, touch, and sight becomes much more challenging for the brain. Unfortunately, this may cause confusion, elopement, and wandering, especially when faced with new places and situations.
Despite all of this, there have been a number of studies that demonstrate travel therapy can benefit a dementia patient’s physical and mental health. In the same way that sensory stimulation, exercise, and music therapy can boost memory skills and cognition, travel therapy can have the same effect. By experiencing calming and relaxing locations, the mind’s ability to think and recall information can improve.
Every trip calls for preparation, but one with dementia sufferers will take a little bit more. For example, if you need to fly to your destination, a normal airline may not have the facilities to handle dementia patients. Therefore, you should use a company that provides non-emergency medical transport and is well-versed in medical elopement and other dementia-related issues.
When you go will play a large part in how your loved one reacts. In most cases, it’s best to arrange travel around the usual daily routine. For example, if evenings trigger anxiety and agitation in your loved one, consider traveling during the day.
To make arrival at your destination easier, you can get in touch with transport agencies to ask about any special provisions and protocols. For example, standing in a busy line may be overwhelming, in which case there may be a separate waiting area to have passports checked.
Consider Different Scenarios
You can spend months planning for the trip, but anything can happen, and you need to be prepared. Therefore, you should always consider various scenarios. For example, when you’re choosing accommodation, you should make sure that they have provisions for disability provisions, like accessible rooms.
Dementia sufferers tend to get confused and wander off. If this happens while you’re away, the outcome may be a little worse. Therefore, you should have them wear an identification bracelet, which allows people to get in touch with you. As well as this, you should make sure their bags include the following:
- Incontinence products and additional clothing
- Snacks and water
- Insurance details, emergency contacts, and other relevant information
Traveling with a loved one suffering from dementia will be challenging, but that doesn’t make it impossible. As long as you’ve planned for every eventuality and there are enough supportive people present, there’s nothing to stop you from having a good time.