New Year, New Travels?

We live in a world full of traveling possibilities. It is estimated that on average, every day more than 8 million people fly. Wow! Imagine the adventures! While such a large number of people fly each day, it may be a bit more complicated for someone with Alzheimer???s; Complicated, but not impossible.

Here???s how one couple does it. Bob and Juanita Wellington enjoy traveling all around the world together. Although Bob, 76, was diagnosed with Alzheimer???s in 2010, but they haven???t let that stop them. They offer these tips when traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer???s.

Plan ahead

Give the person with Alzheimer???s a detailed itinerary even though he or she will have a travel companion. ???One of the things that???s most helpful is having a travel itinerary that details where you need to be, at what time, what your flight number is, seat number, what hotel you???re staying in and emergency contact information for someone other than the travel companion,??? she said.

Arrive very early for flights, having a letter from a doctor that allows you to go through security together, pre-boarding and avoiding layovers. Call ahead to airlines and airports, because many will arrange a greeter to meet you at security and show you to your gate.

Develop a routine

Try to keep as many things as familiar as possible. ???Having a routine works really well,??? she said. ???Try staying at the same hotel, visiting locations you???re familiar with, and keep the daily routine as similar as possible to what it is at home.??? Allocate time to rest and relax as well as doing things you enjoy.???

Travel with a companion

Once someone has been diagnosed, she doesn???t recommend that person ever travel alone, even if they???re in early stages. ???You never know when someone may wander or get disoriented,??? she said. ???Traveling in unfamiliar surroundings can also trigger that behavior.???

Prepare for challenges

???It???s critically important to recognize changes that are happening and what modifications can be made,??? she said. She recommends calling the Alzheimer???s Association hotline ??? 1-800-272-3900 ??? where clinicians are available to walk a family through questions and challenges while traveling. She also advised signing up for the Safe Return program, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The Wellingtons are taking all of these precautions as they prepare for more travel and hopefully others will too.

 

For more information see: An Alzheimer’s diagnosis doesn’t have to mean an end to traveling

 

Talysa McCall

AlzTex Admin

The Alzheimer's Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter (www.alz.org/texas) consists of families, caregivers, scientists, health professionals, and concerned citizens who are committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease and to easing the burden of Alzheimer's Disease and related disorders on patients and their families and loved ones.