Thursday, November 21, 2013

Travel Precautions

Traveling with dementia is possible.  Precautions and preparations have to be put into place to smooth the way.  Bumps along the way should be the expectation.

In preparation for this trip, we've taken the following steps to provide Lyn with the supports she needs:

  • Rented an oxygen condenser so that she has the nightly breathing supports she needs.
  • Booked airline tickets using a reservation specialist with the airline so that the airline could be alerted to Lyn's dementia.  This allowed seats to be assigned as close to the front of the plane which will ease her anxiety and facilitate getting on and off the plane.
  • Made reservations that provided direct flights between her home and mine.  The slightly higher cost is worth avoiding the confusion a layover would introduce.
  • Requested pre-boarding access so she can be seated before the confusion of the regular boarding procedures are initiated.
  • Requested the use of a wheel chair at each airport to get Lyn from door to door.  This will allow her to sit back and relax instead of feeling anxiety over which way to go to get to the gate or getting confused or fatigued on the way to a gate.
  • Secured a TSA approved carrier which will keep her meds properly chilled and handily available in Mom's carry-on.  This will allow Mom to provide Lyn with an anti-anxiety med if she needs it which we anticipate she will.
  • Packed copies of her prescriptions and medical information.  These are needed in case TSA questions the meds in the travel carrier.
  • Put a plan into place for how we will interact with Lyn when she gets to baggage claim.  This is the first point at our airport where we can engage with Mom and Lyn after they get off their plane.  My husband and elder child will stay with Mom at baggage claim to collect their bags.  I will take Lyn and my younger child straight to the car where we will wait for the rest of our party.  This way, Lyn will be in a quiet, calm environment.  If she wants to cry or close her eyes and rest her head, she can.  
  • Provided her with a medical alert bracelet.  OK, this last one was done long before this trip.  However, I wanted to include it in the list because, if for any reason something were to happen, the information on the bracelet will be immediately available and used by anyone who helps Lyn.
Most importantly, Lyn is not traveling alone.  She's with an person who is experienced with how to interact with her.

Hopefully, our planning will pay off and the travel days will be successful.

Additional information:
Traveling with Dementia - Elder Care Team

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