Dementia: Packing for a trip
July 24, 2023
A trip. Sounds like fun! And, it’s more challenging when you travel with a companion who has dementia. But with forethought and planning, you can avoid or readily address common problems.
Things to do a few weeks ahead
- Get an ID bracelet for you and your loved one. In the confusion of crowds, it’s easy for people with dementia to get lost or wander. For their bracelet, note dementia and have instructions to call you on your mobile phone. Yours is in case something should happen to you. Note you are a caregiver of a person with dementia and provide the phone number of a relative who can advise authorities regarding your loved one.
- Purchase a GPS tracking device, ideally for your relative’s shoes. They are less likely to be left behind than a backpack or sweater.
- Have a current photo of your loved one. This will help in the case of separation. You might also consider a laminated card stating your loved one’s name, gender, height/weight, and “Alzheimer’s” or “memory problems.” Discreetly show this to airline personnel, hotel clerks, waiters, or other hospitality staff. They will likely offer you additional assistance or services. At the least they will be more patient.
- Carry a day bag. Keep this with you at all times (in the plane cabin, for instance). Pack in it a comfort object or lap-size activity for distraction, snacks, medicines, underwear pads, and a change of clothes.
- Documents and emergency contacts. Also bring along basic medical information: Current list of medications and allergies. Primary doctor contact information. Insurance information. Copies of loved one’s advance directive and power of attorney. Add to this the names/contact information of friends/family to be called in case of emergency.
Are you preparing for a trip?
We can help! Give us a call at 1-800-897-3052, toll-free. As the Iowa City, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids experts in family caregiving, we at Iowa City Hospice can help you pace through likely scenarios and determine what you will need to pack or prepare for ahead of time.