Do you have a trip planned with your parent or other loved one who has Alzheimer's? Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be difficult enough at home, but taking the care and treatment on the road can add even more complexity. Consistency is critical for those with Alzheimer's, so the changes and confusion that come with travel can be very difficult. The good news is that you can take steps to make the trip easier for yourself and your loved one. Here are three tips to manage your upcoming trip with your loved one who has Alzheimer's:
Make them wear an identification bracelet. For some people with Alzheimer's, new surroundings brings an increased desire to wander. That can be a big problem if you're in a crowded space or if you're somewhere in which they can get lost easily. As a safeguard, have your loved one wear an identification bracelet. The bracelet should include your loved one's name and address, as well as your name and contact information. It should also list any required medication in case your loved one becomes lost for an extended period.
Make sure the loved one is wearing a bracelet that can't be easily removed, as he or she may become annoyed with it. If they refuse to wear a bracelet, try seeing if they'll wear a lanyard around their neck with an information card attached.
Stay in a quiet and calming place. You may be traveling to visit family. However, resist the urge to stay in a busy house with lots of family members. The noise and bustle of the crowded house may be too stressful for your loved one to handle. Hotels can be good options because the hotel room can be a calming and safe place for your loved one to relax. You can also latch the door and lock it to prevent your loved one from wandering out while you're sleeping or in the shower.
Wherever you decide to stay, be sure to bring things from home to help your loved one feel more comfortable. You may want to bring your loved one's favorite pillow, blanket, and pajamas. If there are certain pictures or mementos that he or she likes to have near the bed, be sure to bring those.
Hire help. If you use a professional caregiver while at home, you may also want to hire one to assist while you're on the road. Your Alzheimer's care provider in your hometown can likely refer you to a provider in your destination. They may be able to provide a part-time caregiver to help out while you attend events that aren't suitable for your loved one. Or the caregiver may even be able to attend some events with you so you have an extra set of hands to help.
For more information, contact an agency that provides Alzheimer's care in your destination city. They can offer suggestions and tips on how to make the trip easier.