5 Tips for Travel
Memorial Day is just around the corner, which not only means the start of summer, but also the start of summer travel! Memory impairment adds a level of stress to taking a summer vacation, but whether you’re planning a day trip to visit family or a cross-country excursion, there are ways to minimize the anxiety. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for travel.
Keep the routine.
Keep a routine and make things as familiar as possible. When going on vacation, try to stick to some of the main components of the person’s normal “at-home” schedule as much as possible. Go to bed at the same time, wake up the same time, and try to eat at the same times. Also, keep the routines the same—if they take a shower at night, and then brush their teeth, and then put their pajamas on—keep that routine. With everything else being new, this is not the time to start trying a morning shower!
Can I see some ID?
When traveling, we all know to bring our IDs. You can also create a quick “flyer” with the person’s information (including medications, allergies, etc.) AND a recent picture. When traveling through an airport, a train station, or somewhere with a larger number of people, if the individual gets separated from the group, you can easily hand your flyer to gate attendants, security, or even the police if needed.
Get some Zs.
Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep! If you are staying in a hotel, try to reserve a quiet room at the end of the hallway or away from the lobby, elevator, or pool to limit the number of external distractions. If you’re driving, try to limit the amount of time in the car, taking breaks when needed, and especially at night. When flying, try to limit the number of layovers, again aiming to keep with a normal sleeping routine. Everyone is less cranky with a good night’s sleep!
Remember the meds.
Is your loved one on a strict medication routine? While it can be easy to forget on vacation, it’s important to keep the same medication routine too. Be sure to have a typed list of the medication routine, including medication name, dose, and frequency. Keep the list in a plastic sheet protector to avoid any water spills, especially at the beach. In addition, keep the medications with you, or near you at all times. If you’re flying, you may consider bringing all medications in a carry-on, if possible, in case there is any delay in getting your checked luggage.
Make a (realistic!) plan.
Plan ahead and be realistic. Take time in advance to plan out the trip. Remember, people with memory impairment respond to their environment, so if you end up stressed out when you can’t find the hotel, more than likely, they will pick up on your stress and start exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety themselves. But most importantly be realistic. Understand that you may not get to everything you have planned – and that’s okay! Have a back-up plan if an activity isn’t going well, or just take a break. Everyone will have more fun, whether you hit one site on the list or all ten.
Keeping these important points in mind will help you have a successful and fun summer vacation. If you need any assistance or advice, please do not hesitate to call us at 703-204-4664 or schedule a consultation!
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