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Traveling with Altzheimer

I love to travel.  My loved one has dementia.  Can I still travel?

Here are a few helpful tips for traveling with someone who has dementia.
  • Caregivers need a good amount of patience when traveling with someone who has dementia.  Include some “downtime” where everyone can relax.  During this time have their favorite activity/hobby ready (e.g. their favorite tv show – even on Youtube on a cellphone), in a relaxing environment. 
Traveling with Dementia loved one
  • Always have an emergency travel bag ready, which you can take with you on your excursions.  (This might include an extra change of clothing, wipes, something to snack and drink, etc…)
Traveling with Dementia
  • Take the most direct route to your destination and allow extra time.  Don’t work on tight timelines and limit your travel time to that which your loved one can handle, without any anxiety or getting too tired.  
  • Keep to your loved one’s schedule and plan your trip around it.  This will lessen their anxiety.  For example, you might consider not traveling during a time that should’ve been their breakfast, lunch, or dinner time.   
  • As caregivers, we try to stay with our loved ones at all times, but it is a really good idea to give them an identification bracelet with your contact information on it.  If you do become separated (they might wander), you can be reunited easier.
  • Try not to overload the person with dementia with a lot of information and be ready to repeat it loads of times with patience.  It might be very confusing to them.
  • Early morning might be the best time of day to travel.  Late in the afternoon, they might already be tired and/or irritated.  Plan your excursions for just after breakfast (if it suits your loved one’s schedule).
Dementia travel tips
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  When traveling with someone who has dementia and standing at the airport or in any long line, just go up to them and ask:  My companion has dementia. May we please… (board with the first group, etc…)  Almost all airports have facilities to help disabled people, and this includes people with dementia.

Traveling from the USA:  If your flight is within 72 hours, please call TSA Cares (855) 787-2227 to request assistance. TSA Cares assistance is available for help through the screening checkpoint. If you need in-flight assistance or wheelchair assistance from the curb to the flight, you can contact your airline.

  • “Learn to recognize the warning signs of anxiety and agitation and identify strategies to reduce them. Discuss this plan with the person living with dementia.”  ( – Tips for a calm traveling experience)
  • If your loved one easily gets tired of walking/sightseeing, try doing only one site at a time.  Include downtime at a quiet and relaxing nearby restaurant or coffee shop.  
  • Music is always a good idea – especially if it is something from long ago which they loved.
  • It might be easier to book a city bus tour or a riverboat tour, than booking a walking tour.  Consider activities that are “less stressful” to your loved ones according to their personality and needs.  That way you’ll also make it easier on yourself.
Traveling with seniors or someone who has a disability
  • Don’t get your expectations up to high.  If for example, you would love to do some sightseeing in the town or city you’re visiting, make a list of it and then decide each morning what will be the best for that day.  According to his/her mental frame of mind, the weather, and your patience, you’ll know what you can handle for that day.

In conclusion, the golden rule is:  Be realistic in your travel plans. Know your loved one’s limits and know your own limits.

We hope this article is helpful to make your next traveling trip more fun, as we know traveling with someone who has dementia can be very difficult.  Above all remember to take photos while you’re traveling, because this will be part of your memories in the future…

Tips for traveling with someone who has dementia: Create moments of laughter - after all it is the best medicine.