As a caregiver, traveling could be a welcome break in the routine if family members are able to help with care. When you travel, the responsibilities of a caretaker are the same. Careful planning is essential for every trip which must include plans for caregiving responsibilities when traveling with a person with dementia. Some people hire a professional caregiver to accompany them on the trip so family members can have a respite from caregiving.
Traveling with your Loved One and Respite Care
Full-time caregivers need breaks, and an occasional vacation is an important part of your ability to provide the care your loved one will require in the long term. Respite care, either in your home or at a long term care community, will provide all the care and medical supervision that your loved one needs, while keeping their schedule and activities consistent. Look for a community that specializes in dementia care. You can then relax and enjoy your travel while knowing your loved one is receiving the best possible care and having a vacation of their own.
Trying a short trip is a great way to judge how your family member will handle travel. You’ll get a better idea of the responsibilities and challenges of caregiving while traveling. Here are some ideas:
- Keep the travel time for your trip to just a few days and close to home, or take a day trip.
- Take note on how your loved one reacts to riding in a car for long periods, unfamiliar surroundings, and situations that are out of the ordinary.
Discovering these limitations and needs can be extremely helpful in planning a longer trip, or to decide if it would be
better to travel without your loved one.
A regular schedule and familiarity with people and surroundings are important to a person living with dementia, and any change in routine or surroundings can cause upset, confusion and increased memory loss. How much a person will be affected by travel depends upon the severity of the dementia and how easily the person becomes disoriented and upset.
Early Stages of Dementia
For those in the early stages of dementia, traveling can often be an enjoyable break from routine. Can your loved one remember an upcoming trip? Is he or she looking forward to it? If so, then they may be able to handle the stress of travel. Visiting with family can often help to recall old memories and earlier days, and the trip could be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Middle Stages of Dementia
For those in the middle stages of the disease, travel may be too overwhelming. Make an honest assessment of your loved one’s current capabilities and condition. If the person living with dementia feels anxious in new places or situations, they wander, or are consistently confused or agitated, travel will probably make these symptoms worse. The change in routine, a new environment, unfamiliar faces, and crowds are all difficult for those with dementia, and the negative effects may continue even after returning home. In addition, if assistance is needed in the bathroom, they are incontinent, they suffer from paranoia or delusions, have a history of falling, or are medically unstable, traveling could present serious health and safety risks. Speak to your doctor about any potential travel plans for guidance.
We know, we understand and we can help.
Because at Arden Courts, memory care is all we do. We strive to be a leader in memory care by providing a home-like, safe and supportive setting that nurtures the individuality of persons living with memory loss and gives their families the peace of mind they deserve.
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