With the senior population growing each year, more and more older Americans are embarking on travel adventures with their families. Recognizing this trend, hotels and airports have begun to rethink and modify services to meet this age group’s changing mobility needs.
While that’s great news for senior travelers, families of those with dementia need to do some rethinking of their own. By anticipating and planning for specific challenges, they can have a more memorable, enjoyable experience when traveling with memory-challenged seniors.
Our advice for dementia care when on the road or in the air
- Check with the physician of your parent or grandparent for approval to travel. Talk with the doctor about medications, vaccinations and physical limitations.
- If your loved one lives in a retirement community, inform the manager of the upcoming trip so staff can help prepare him or her.
- Avoid evening travel if possible as it can lead to heightened confusion and agitation.
- If traveling by air, request special services (wheelchairs, specific seating and advance boarding) in advance.
- Plan for special dietary needs. Be sure acceptable food will be on hand throughout your trip, and carry snacks and nutritional supplements if necessary.
- Pack prescriptions and medical documentation, i.e., Medicare and other insurance cards.
- Give your parent a card listing your name and cell phone number in case you get separated. Be sure she or he has is carrying at least one form of ID.
- Take a picture every morning so you can show how your family member with dementia is dressed if you should become separated.
- Allow time for breaks and moving slowly from place to place. Arrive for flights earlier than usual.
- Keep a daily routine, and try to maintain a schedule for medications, mealtime and rest time.
In addition, you might want to read our tips on how you can best communicate with your family member with dementia during your trip.
If children are going to travel with you, talk to them about dementia. You can prepare them by reading suggested children’s books about dementia or taking some along on your trip. We heartily recommend “The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape,” written by our own Joel Kroft, Executive Director of Memory Support. To get the book for free, just stop by the front desk at any Country Meadows campus. Click here to find the location nearest you.
Our commitment to seniors and families
If you’re considering dementia care in Pennsylvania or Maryland, we hope you will inquire about Country Meadows Retirement Communities. Many families who thought they would need a nursing home with dementia care have found their loved one could be compassionately cared for by Connections memory support services here at Country Meadows.
Our dedicated and trained Connections co-workers engage residents through socialization activities within a secure neighborhood or a personal care or assisted living home. We also have a Connections Club for residents with mild cognitive loss to alleviate their feelings of frustration and anxiety. For seniors with more serious memory loss, we offer a Connections Neighborhood with secure entrances and exits and added assistance with daily personal needs.
Please contact us for information or schedule a visit to meet our staff, learn more about our Connections program or tour any of our senior living homes. We have 10 retirement communities in Pennsylvania as well as a Frederick, Maryland retirement community, where residents live full lives in a family-oriented, caring environment.