Traveling with Someone with Dementia

Traveling with a Person with Dementia can be challenging

First off, my best suggestion is not to travel with someone having dementia.  They prefer to be in places where they feel familiar and comfortable.  Sometimes, however, there may be family gatherings or a trip to visit children or grandchildren.

Let me share a story of something that happened with my mother.  My sister came from Colorado to visit with the family in Toledo, Ohio.  She wanted to visit my other sister in Tiffin and decided to take my mother with them.  They stayed in a hotel in adjoining rooms.  In the middle of the night, my mother got up and walked outside the room.  She became disoriented and didn’t know what room was hers, what her name was or with whom she came.  Consequently, she ended up at the front lobby desk in her PJs.  They figured out who she probably came with and called the room.  My sister and her husband came to get her and after that they couldn’t sleep because they were afraid she would leave the room again.

Pointers for traveling with a dementia person

Here are some pointers to make your trip go more smoothly.

  • Take scented body lotions to rub and soothe when the person is distressed.  Lavendar scent works well.
  • Have all clothes labelled with the person’s name
  • Call the Alzheimer’s Association and order an ID bracelet which can be used to identify them if they wander.
  • Also order a door alarm from the Alzheimer’s Association because the person may exit the door at night when they become confused about where they are.  It will end up giving you more peace of mind and better sleep.
  • Take a nightlight that you can use to help identify the bathroom.
  • Bring music that is soothing.
  • Bring pictures of loved ones.
  • Notify the front desk that a person with dementia is staying with them and give them a picture of the person with identifying info.
  • If travelling in a car, be sure to stop frequently for rest stops.  Pets often offer a lot of comfort to someone who is travelling.
  • Make sure they stay hydrated by offering water and other liquids.

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