Don’t Let the Getaway Get Away
Summer vacation! Whether it’s just a few days, or if you have a whole week to get out and shake the dust off yourself, you want to make the most of your time away. But when you’re a caregiver, getting away for a few days may just sound like something you “used to do.”
Well, take heart; it is possible for you and your loved one with dementia to take a trip together. Sound impossible? Not so fast….
Any vacation requires a degree of planning, and the same is true for you to be able to take a trip with the dementia patient. You’ll need to do some research, but if you invest the time, it’s possible to find a trip that will work for your family.
Assess Likes and Dislikes
Consider your loved one with dementia. If they are still early to mid-stage, a well-planned trip can be very nice for them, but you need to know “triggers” that might cause problems. Do they resist crowds? Then theme parks are probably not a great idea. How are they with loud noise? If sudden loud sounds result in agitation, then it’s probably best to avoid something that has fireworks. Give thought instead to visiting someplace that’s calm; for example, an aquarium, a botanic garden or an art gallery. Any of these can be an adventure that stimulates memories and may even facilitate surprisingly good conversation with the dementia patient.
Ask Your Hotel for a Room Away from the Crowd
If, for instance, you are given a room that overlooks the pool area, it might be agitating to the person with dementia. People gather at the pool throughout the day and often well into the night, and the mingled sounds of talking, laughter and splashing can be disruptive to sleep. The hotel might have a different room in another area which will be calm and allow you and family to get your much needed rest.
Determine if Driving or Flying is Best
Your loved one with dementia may enjoy a car ride, or they may become figity and agitated if the drive is too long. It’s important for you to have an idea which way it will go before you make your plans. If you do fly, talk to the airline representatives about accommodations—like allowing you and your loved one to board early to keep the crowd to a minimum while getting situated. Knowing the dementia patient’s tolerance level may also help you narrow your destination search.
Contact a Travel Advisor
Talk with a professional travel agent/advisor because they will have recommendations about places to visit which are best suited to your family’s needs. Their expertise can be exactly the help you need to arrange a pleasant, restful getaway for everybody.
Don’t put it off; breathe life into your family by planning a fun trip away. Visit someplace where you can see something new and take pictures to show your loved one with dementia in the future. Photos make great conversation starters, and they can stimulate wonderful memories, even in the person with dementia. It’s a win for both of you.