Summertime is vacation time for many families. But if your family includes someone who has Alzheimer’s, you’ll need to do a little extra planning. These 6 tips will help you make your vacation both fun and safe for everyone.
Be realistic. This is not the time to plan a 7-day 10-country trip to Europe. Your loved one with Alzheimer’s needs extra downtime, so you should plan your activities accordingly. If traveling by plane, fly nonstop. But however you travel, keep the travel time under four hours.
Take a Stroll down Memory Lane. New places often trigger anxiety in people with Alzheimer’s. So consider a return trip to a favorite locale. Doing so might not only stave off agitation, it may also allow for the enjoyment of fond memories.
Keep track. People with Alzheimer’s can easily wander off and get lost, so it’s important to keep track of them at all times. Today, there’s even an app for that. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a service called Medic Alert + Safe Return that provides 24-hour assistance if your loved one becomes lost.
Keep an eye on the clock. Many people with Alzheimer’s have times of day when they are usually at their best — or at their worst. Sundown Syndrome, in which the person with Alzheimer’s becomes more confused or agitated as it starts to get dark, is a common feature of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If your loved one has Sundown Syndrome, be sure to be in your hotel room before it sets in.
Pack smart. Emergencies can happen to anyone, but you need to be extra prepared for travel emergencies if your companion has Alzheimer’s. Be sure to bring:
- Extra medication, in case your trip is delayed
- A list of emergency contacts
- Copies of important documents, such as a medication list, power of attorney, and advanced directives
- A recent photo of your loved one
Keep It light. In mood, but also in the hotel room. Make sure there is a well-lit, unobstructed path to the bathroom, and keep the bathroom light on all night.
Know when to stop. Traveling with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s may be possible for many years. But be realistic about when the disease has progressed enough that it is unmanageable — either on the road or at home. If you are concerned about how to take care of your loved one, contact Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ. We are experts in handling all levels of cognitive impairment, from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Hamilton Grove has created a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address the needs of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independence in a calm and soothing atmosphere.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.