Traveling - Tip Sheet
Traveling results in constant change. Each new place brings a variety of strange people, sights, and objects. Though the setting may change every day considering a few things may ease the task.
- Remember to try and keep the same schedule. This will help bring a sense of stability. Wake up times, mealtimes, bath times, and bedtimes should be on the same schedule as at home.
- A favorite blanket, pillow, set of bath towels, or picture for the bedside table brings some familiarity to the new place. This look of sameness and the same daily schedule may help keep the person oriented.
- During travel it helps to schedule only one or two special events a day. Sometimes the instability and rush of traveling lead to exhaustion. Exhaustion may result in disorientation and the person may want to return home. They may try to find their own way home and wander off from the motel or vacation spot. A Medic-Alert or wanderer's identification bracelet or necklace may help. Also helpful are a recent photo and summary of the medical history to help law en-forcement officers or hospital staff.
- Resting between activities helps the person relax and enjoy the trip. After spending an hour or so with a group of people, it helps to have a break for about 15 minutes. Quiet time may occur in an empty lounge, a quiet corner of a hotel lobby, or on a chair in a restroom with only one other person. This kind of break helps prevent exhaustion, confusion, wandering off, or anger outbursts. If there are special evening activities planned, it helps to keep the earlier part of the day's schedule very light and relaxed.
- People who have a progressive memory disorder eventually get to a point where it is more comfortable for them to stay home. It may work out better for the family caregiver to travel alone or with a friend and to provide a paid caregiver for the person at home. Sometimes a day health care program, an adult congregate living facility, or a nursing home provides respite services, residence for a weekend, or up to two weeks at the facility for a special fee.
Material taken from: Helping People with Progressive Memory Disorders: A Guide For You And Your Family, 2nd ed." (University of Florida Health Science Center). Used with permission from the authors: K. M. Heilman, MD, L. Doty, PhD, J. T. Stewart, MD, D Bowers, PhD, & L. Gonzalez-Rothi, PhD. (1999).