Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Travel with Dementia Patients

During a recent Town Hall Forum co-sponsored by The George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers, a caregiver asked our medical experts about traveling with a loved one who has dementia. The ability to travel as a family or a couple depends on numerous factors, including how well they currently handle a change in routine. Are they easily agitated? Do they become highly irritable with the slightest change in their environment or routine?

If a person with dementia doesn't seem agitated, then they may be a candidate for traveling.

"Be prepared to stop a lot. Be prepared to take them to the bathroom a lot. And be prepared for them to become restless," said Dr. Alan Berkowitz, a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in the management of acutely agitated long-term care patients.

He recommends flying first-class if that is an option. If other modes of transportation are planned, be prepared.

Here are several resources to guide your travel plans, should they include a loved one with memory impairment from Alzheimer's, Lewy Body, Parkinson's or any other disease.