Top 10 Tips for Travelling with Dementia

Travelling with dementia requires careful planning to ensure the safety, comfort and wellbeing of the individual is maintained every step of the journey. At Loveday, we have an innovative activities programme involving an abundance of travel and excursions – from cabs, trains, tubes, buses, cars, limousines and boats we have perfected the art of travel (and we continue to refine and perfect with every outing – every trip is a new experience!)

Below Darren Pitcher, Loveday's Director of Care Operations & Compliance and an experienced nurse, share tips for making travel more manageable for individuals living with dementia, Parkinson’s and other age-related conditions.

It’s our mission to continue providing the most enriching experiences for our Members at Loveday so they can continue living their lives to the fullest. As well as local experiences around the neighbourhood, we have lots of regular excursions further afield – we love nothing more than getting out and about and embracing everything the city has to offer. With any trip comes meticulous planning; routes, itineraries, packing and contingencies– lots goes on behind the scenes to make the experiences as seamless as possible. Of course, the more you do it the easier it becomes.  My top 10 tips for travelling with dementia include:

Every outing must start with meticulous planning! Create a detailed itinerary with a clear schedule including transportation details, accommodation information, restaurants and planned activities. Always plan for plans to change. Consider choosing destinations that are familiar or hold meaning to the individual to enhance enjoyment and minimise disorientation or confusion.

 

Carry identification with the individual's name, address and emergency contact details. Use a medical alert bracelet or necklace with information about dementia. GPS or tracking devices can be really useful to keep tabs on the person's location.

 

Stick to the person's daily routine as much as possible including meal times and medication. Consistency helps reduce anxiety and confusion. It’s important to keep the days short – don’t cram too many activities or experiences into it – this can be hugely tiring and overwhelming. Travelling can be tiring for the elderly and especially for those living with dementia or Parkinson’s, so include rest breaks in the itinerary.

Opt for direct transportation routes wherever possible to minimise travel time and potential stress for all. 

If your trip will include an overnight stay, choose accommodation that is safe, comfortable and close to familiar facilities. Inform the hotel staff about the individual's condition so they can provide support and assistance.

Upon arrival, take time to familiarise yourself with the new environment. Point out important areas like the bathroom and dining area. If possible, take a practice run before hand or choose destinations you’re familiar with.

Ensure you pack everything you need for the trip including medication, water, favourite snacks, clothing, blankets, pillows etc. Compile a packing list that you can keep adding to and drawing upon.

Avoid overwhelming environments with excessive noise, bright lights, or crowded spaces as these can contribute to agitation.

Unexpected challenges may arise, so it’s important to remain calm and flexible when they do – panicking only makes things worse and almost always has a knock-on effect to companions. Be prepared for unexpected situations; carry a list of emergency contacts, know the location of the nearest medical facilities and have contingency plans for various scenarios.

If venturing on longer travels such as holidays, it’s important to consult the GP before the trip for a health check-up and to discuss travel plans. Ensure that all medications are up-to-date and you have a sufficient supply for the duration of the trip. Pack all necessary medications in their original containers along with a list of medications and dosages. Bring extra prescriptions in case of unexpected delays.

Always prioritise safety, comfort and the unique needs of the person living with dementia or other conditions throughout the journey. By taking these precautions and planning ahead, you can help ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience for all.

Published: 6th of January 2024 by Loveday & Co

Tagged: Dementia

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