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Living well at home

Originally published in the Apple valley Scoop Issue 29 (July 2011) by Nancy Blezy RN, Nurse Manager, Careforce Health Services

Travelling with Dementia

“What are you doing for your vacation?” For many the answer involves some sort of travel. We are a society that enjoys travel; to the shore for the day, a drive around neighboring communities, or out of province to visit with family and friends.

Travelling with dementia can be an extra challenge. Planning ahead can help to make sure you have a safe AND enjoyable trip. Plan your travel for the best time of day for the person with dementia. Have your route well marked out. Try to mimic normal routines ie, meal and rest times. Pack water, snacks, copies of your medical documents and emergency contacts, extra medications, and extra changes of clothing

Sign up with the Safely Home Alzheimer Registry and ensure that the bracelet is worn. Contact The Alzheimer Society of NS for more information. If you are flying – inform the airline ahead of time of your needs. Inform security that you are travelling with someone with dementia before you get in the security line. Consider requesting a wheelchair so that an airport employee is assigned to assist you through the terminal. Be adaptable and anticipate challenges.

Last fall, my father travelled from Ontario to Nova Scotia with my mother who has had dementia for 12 years. She is non verbal and incontinent but the trip was pleasurable for both because he planned ahead. They travelled with a trailer that had washroom/cooking facilities and my father could relax knowing that mom was safe. That trip was very special for us on the receiving end of the visit. I am so thankful that they were able to come and that my father made the extra effort.

If you want any suggestions about caring for or travelling with someone with dementia, please call me, Nancy Blezy RN @ 365-3155 Kentville. Happy trails!