Tips for travelling with someone who has dementia
We all enjoy a change of scenery and a break from routines. However, as Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias progress, changes in abilities can make it difficult to get away.
Careful planning will help you manage the changes in surroundings and routines. Here are some tips to make the trip easier:
Have a plan
- Include the person with dementia in your planning. Give her a copy of the trip itinerary for her reference.
- If you are planning to visit friends and family, tell them about the changes since your last visit.
- Learn as much as you can about the place you’ll be visiting, so you can anticipate what you’ll need.
- Think ahead about activities that may need to be adjusted.
- Consider a holiday package, where everything is organized for you.
- Register the person with the Alzheimer Society’s MedicAlert® Safely Home®. Members receive an engraved identification bracelet, which allows police and emergency responders to quickly identify a person who gets separated.
- Carry recent photographs, details of what the person is wearing, and preferred places of interest. This will help during a search if one is necessary.
- Keep a copy of the name and number of your hotel in a familiar spot in the person’s purse or pocket, so he can ask for help if needed.
- Aim for as few changes in routine as you reasonably can.
- Try to get a direct flight.
- If you’re travelling by car for a long distance, consider extending the time to get there and driving shorter distances each day.
Ask for help
- If possible, have an additional person travel with you to help.
- Make sure that your travel agent is aware of any special needs.
- Inform the airline that you are travelling with a person with dementia. You may want to request early boarding, a wheelchair, transportation upon arrival, help getting on and off the plane or with stowing carry-on baggage.
- Request seating near washrooms.
- If you are staying at a hotel, let the staff know about your needs and explain some of the possible difficulties you think you might encounter.
- Travel tips handout (PDF)