SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) releases a list of advice families traveling this holiday season with someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia-related illness. According to AAA (American Automobile Association), more than 55 million people travel during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to the AFA president, there are preparations and adaptations family caregivers can make to help their loved one feel more comfortable and relaxed throughout the trip.
AFA offers the following suggestions for family caregivers to consider:
· Advise airlines and hotels that you’re traveling with someone who has memory impairment and inform them of safety concerns and special needs.
· Inquire in advance with airports/train stations about security screening procedures. This way, you can familiarize the person beforehand about what will happen at the checkpoint to reduce potential anxiety.
· Plan the travel mode and timing of your trip in a manner that causes the least amount of anxiety and stress. Account for the person and their needs when making arrangements; if they travel better at a specific time of day, consider planning accordingly.
· Preserve the person’s routine as best as possible, including eating and sleeping schedules. Small or unfamiliar changes can be overwhelming and stressful to someone with dementia.
· Take regular breaks on road trips for food, bathroom visits, or rest.
· Bring snacks, water, activities and other comfort items (i.e., a blanket or the person’s favorite sweater), as well as an extra, comfortable change of clothing to adapt to climate changes.
· Consider utilizing an identification bracelet and clothing tags with your loved one’s full name and yours to ensure safety.
· Take important health and legal-related documentation, a list of current medications, and physician information with you.
· Depending on the trip duration and/or the stage of the person’s illness, consult with their physician to make sure travel is advisable.