Nurses’ Notes – Practical, Helpful Tips for Caregivers

Important Tips for Travelling with Persons with Dementia (Part 2)

Part 2: Specific Arrangements for the Actual Trip

Remember: Once advance planning is arranged for the trip, specific arrangements need to be organized for the actual mode of travel and the accommodations away from home.

  1. Specific Arrangements for Air Travel:
    1. Avoid layovers. Arrange direct flights.
    2. Check luggage through to final destination. Travel with minimal luggage and carry-ons
    3. Request middle seat for person with Dementia to avoid wandering.
    4. Keep all medications and change of clothes in carry-on luggage.
    5. Bring along familiar music on an IPod with headphones, photo albums, pillows and blankets
  1. Specific Arrangements for Car Travel:
    1. Make sure the person wears his seatbelt at all times.
    2. Keep all doors locked
    3. Make sure the person does not get out of the car unsupervised.
    4. During stops to eat or use the washroom, never leave the person unattended.
    5. Take frequent washroom breaks to help maintain urinary continence. If person is willing, bring along adult incontinence briefs to avoid untimely incontinence.
    6. If alone, never continue driving while person is agitated. Pull over and stop until person calms.
    7. Keep simple nutritious snacks, beverages and meals in the car in a freezer bag to allow for stops at a picnic area and to prevent dehydration, alleviate restlessness and avoid stopping at crowded fast food stops
  1. Steps to take to make the vacation safe and enjoyable:
    1. Do a quick safety check to reduce any risks.
      • Remove scatter rugs
      • One exit from room with safety latch for nights
      • Night lights for the washroom
      • Grab bars in the shower and bathtub
    2. Make sure hotel staff know person has special needs.
    3. Do not leave person in unfamiliar washroom unattended. Always adjust water temperature in shower or baths because unfamiliar faucets and knobs can be confusing.
    4. Keep routines – meals and bedtime- consistent and similar to routines at home.
    5. Reduce caregiver stress on the trip:
      • Rest before the trip if possible
      • Arrange for family member, friend or a private caregiver if you are alone. Allow yourself some time away from person with Dementia. Give yourself permission to relax and take a well-deserved break.
      • Pace yourself and do not plan too many activities. A rested caregiver is important

Remember to laugh, smile, hug your loved one and have a good time

Main source for the Blog on Travel Tips was from: Baycrest’s Dementia: A Caregiver Guide

Photo of Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee is a Geriatric Nurse Consultant, who was a teacher since 1982, working at Baycrest for 13 years. See Rosalee’s full bio on our team page.