Being diagnosed with dementia is a devastating fact for both the person who has been diagnosed with the disease and his family members.
(Newswire.net — September 14, 2019) –Once a person knows he suffers from this disease of forgetfulness, he has to make some major modifications to his future plans. Though it doesn’t mean that you have to cease all sorts of activities or withdraw yourself from your daily life yet there are certain changes that need to be adopted.
As a surefire consequence of the transition of the entire Baby Boomer generation into old age along with global aging, reports suggest that there are presently 48 million people who live with dementia all over the world and this figure is predicted to rise to 136 million by 2050. Due to the declined prices of air travel, there are more seniors who prefer traveling by air than what they did before. In high probability, most among the senior travelers suffer from dementia.
Few surveys done – A look at the results
Dementia is a disease that has been constantly growing in countries like US and Australia. While home care Logan services can be hired as long as care is restricted within the home but what if the dementia patient has to travel or fly to another new destination? Surveys were done on 42 traveling fellows among whom 9 were suffering from dementia, 12 were among the security staffs and 21 flight crew. Then there were 10 other people who even followed up post interviews and they were all residents of different parts of Australia.
Travel habits of dementia sufferers – According to the survey
During the research process, there were a couple of people who remarked whether or not people with dementia traveled by air. However, as per the results of this research and after the investigation on this topic, it was found out that people suffering from dementia do travel often and there are even times when they travel alone. This is probably because air travel has been too accessible and comfortable for not only aged people but also for them who are suffering from this disease of forgetfulness. Since Australia is a nation of migrants, there are several of them who wish to travel to their homeland. The person with dementia prefers staying at his birthplace during his golden years.
Experiences of dementia patients while on board
Most of those who were included in the survey reported that the cabin crew was extremely sweet and dedicated towards fulfilling their needs. However, the only pitfall of the on-board experience was that the restrooms couldn’t accomodate 2 people and hence the companions weren’t able to help the patient. Half of the companions in the flight reported that their friend with dementia felt anxious throughout the flight. Nevertheless, the companions had followed their strategies like using a high-quality noise canceling headphone or distracting their attention with some other interesting discussion. The overall experience was whatsoever good.
Security staff and flight crew experiences
As per what the flight crew reported, they usually came across passengers with dementia around once or maximum twice a year. On the other hand, the security staffs reported that they often came across confused travelers, daily or even weekly who later on declared that they had dementia. It was noted by the security staff that the biggest challenge of the passengers with dementia was to follow instructions and comprehend the entire process of security. As a result, the passengers became anxious.
Flight crew also spoke of extreme levels of anxiety attacks among the dementia sufferers and they thought that they could be of more help to them if they came to know about their needs and requirements. Henceforth, according to the results of this survey, it can be safely concluded that air travel for a dementia patient can become successful if he is going through the initial stages provided he comes prepared. Read on to know more on traveling with dementia patients.
Figure out whether traveling with dementia will work
When your near and dear one has dementia, it doesn’t at all mean that they can’t accompany you while you travel to different places. However, it is vital that you evaluate all his symptoms before jumping on to any firm decision. Even if you see your loved one performing really well in a familiar environment, the case may not be the same when he travels to an unfamiliar place. There may be agitation, instances of wandering, anger outbursts and several other hysterical feelings as soon as they step out of their comfort zone. Here are few instant signs that traveling won’t be safe with him and few tips to figure out whether a trip can be made successful with him.
How to know whether traveling with dementia is safe – Watch out for the signs
In general, we present before you a list of the symptoms that will prompt you that traveling with dementia won’t be a safe option for your ailing adult.
ü When dementia has reached its advanced stage
ü Frequent stages of confusion, disorientation and agitation
ü Waiting to reach home even on short visits or short trips
ü Feeling anxious, upset or disappointed in crowded places
ü Inappropriate, paranoid, delusional behavior without any reason
ü Sudden screaming, yelling or howling and crying
ü Verbal or physical aggression
ü Instances of wandering
ü Medical conditions that are not stable
ü Heightened risk of falling down
Will it be a successful experience to travel with dementia?
- Ø How much advanced are the symptoms of dementia?
If he is at the initial stage of the disease, he can still enjoy traveling but as the disease progresses with time, traveling can get overwhelming. During the middle stages of dementia, it gets tougher for the companion to decide whether or not travel is a good idea for the person. You have to be realistic while determining his challenges and abilities. On the other hand, when someone has reached the later stages of dementia, travel is not at all recommended as he might be struggling with his usual physical abilities like eating, sitting or even swallowing food.
- Ø How well can you handle the person’s dementia symptoms?
This is one of the most overlooked considerations – how you’re performing as a caregiver. It can’t be denied that when you’re traveling with a person with dementia, things can soon get overwhelming even though you might be a seasoned caregiver. You have to be realistic about being able to handle unanticipated situations, insomnia, challenging conduct and immensely stressful situations all of a sudden. If you think you can cope well with the present symptoms of the older adult, that’s well and good. But in case you too seem to be struggling or feeling tired, traveling won’t be a good idea. While at home, you may seek help of dementia care services Brisbane but this won’t be possible when you’re traveling.
- Ø What sort of behavior does he exhibit at crowded and loud places?
As long as you’re out with your loved one, you need to have a clear idea of how much comfortable or uncomfortable they are at public places. Do they exhibit uncontrolled behavior or extreme anxiety at public crowded areas like grocery stores, restaurants or shopping malls? Take into account their typical reaction at busy and loud places. If being in public settings (away from their comfort zone) makes them scared, angry, upset, anxious or tired, alter your plans of traveling with him.
- Ø Is the trip going to be worthy enough?
You can never predict what’s going to happen in the trip especially when you’re traveling with a dementia patient. This is why you should think how vital it is for them to take this trip and whether it is worth it to take the risk for the trip. In case you’re going out for a family event where you’ll meet your family members and create memories for a lifetime, which is certainly a trip to look out for rather than just a fun trip.
- Ø Where is the destination and how are you planning to commute?
Yet another thing to consider is your travel destination. If you’ve planned to visit a familiar place which your loved one is already acquainted with before he was diagnosed with dementia, this can prove to be an easier experience. Try traveling to a destination where there will be minimum changes to their daily routine so that you keep them from feeling unnecessarily uncomfortable. How are you going to commute to that place? If by car, this will give him more control and flexibility. Air travel can get a bit more unpredictable, hence risky.
- Ø Do you have a support system ready?
One more factor that is worth considering is how much help you can have while traveling to the destination. Are you alone taking care of your loved one all through the trip? If answered yes, this can be challenging as compared to carrying another experienced and trustworthy professional caregiver. If your pockets permit, you should better take a pro caregiver along with you to reduce risks.
Essential tips for caregivers who are traveling with dementia
So, now that you have decided to travel with an Alzheimer’s patient, you have to follow certain tips in order to complete the trip safely. There are several factors that you need to take into account, most of which are mentioned above. Apart from those, if the caregivers have to make sure they take good care of their near and dear ones, they too have to follow certain strategies while traveling. Here are some of them:
v Include some extra time
Regardless of whether you’re taking a flight for your trip or you’re driving a car, make sure you figure in extra time here and there so that they feel comfortable and not pressed for time. You have to keep your calm and retain your patience with them so as to make your travel much less stressful than you could ever dream of.
v Make him wear an identification bracelet
This is specifically true for all those seniors who have a habit of wandering away and getting lost. If they don’t have an ID bracelet that has his name and address on it, they can be redirected by others. Also make sure you write down your number along with a list of other medical conditions that he suffers from in his wallet.
v Hire a transport service that has medical amenities
In case it is extremely necessary to travel with your loved one, you can’t leave him in a respite care even though you may predict that the travel experience can get difficult. This is when you should hire a medical transport service as these are professionals that provide ground and air transportation services for patients suffering from mid-to-late stages of dementia.
v Carry medicines and necessary documents
As long as necessary documents are concerned, your emergency contact details, a long list of food allergies, physician information and names of medicines should be included. Make sure you also have your insurance details, travel itinerary handy as these are the things that are most often checked while traveling.
v Stay in a hotel instead of relative’s place
Even though the trip might get hectic but if you stay at a hotel, this can give you a calm and composed feeling. The patients with dementia can also stick to their daily routine in a better manner when they stay in a hotel. Moreover, if you mistakenly stay at a relative’s place, the family members may not know what to expect from the person and may unknowingly hurt their sorry state of emotions. Hence, you should also inform the hotel staff about your patient’s special needs.
v Travel time should be kept under 4 hours
In case your flight or drive takes more than 4 hours, you have to ensure accompanying at least 2 caregivers. Don’t forget to keep photos and activities prepared so that you keep him engaged and busy during the time of commutation.
Therefore, a dementia patient can always travel provided the caregiver takes all the precautionary measures listed above. Provide him ultimate assistance to make him feel comfortable during the trip.