Alzheimer's Disease Frequently Asked Questions
2. I'm thinking about taking a trip with my father, who has Alzheimer's disease. Is there anything special I should do?
When traveling with someone who has Alzheimer's disease, it's important to plan ahead and try to anticipate the person's needs so you'll be ready for any changes or problems. As you plan, be sure to consider the stage of the person's illness and any behaviors that may be affected by traveling away from home. You may want to try taking a short trip to see how your loved one reacts to traveling. Here are a few other tips to consider:
- Plan some activities for the person with Alzheimer's disease to do when traveling. Simple things -- such as reading a magazine, playing with a deck of cards, or listening to music -- can help keep your loved one calm when traveling.
- Never leave a person with dementia alone in a car. When moving, be sure to keep the seat belt buckled and the doors locked.
- Plan regular rest stops.
- Bring an extra driver if your trip involves more than six hours of driving time.
- If the person becomes agitated while traveling in a car, stop at the first available place. Don't try to calm the person while driving.
- Consider planning your vacation at a place that is familiar to the person with Alzheimer's disease; for example, at a lake cabin that he or she has visited in the past.
- If your loved one is easily agitated, it may be wise to avoid places that are very crowded. You may also want to avoid fast-paced sightseeing trips.
- If your loved one has never been on a plane, it may be wise to consider driving, if possible.
- Alert the airlines and hotel staff that you are traveling with a person who is memory-impaired and make sure the person is carrying or wearing some sort of identification.
- Don't forget that your caregiving responsibilities continue even though you are on vacation. It may help to bring someone along who can help you with these duties.
3. I'm having trouble getting my loved one to eat. What can I do?
Good nutrition is important for people with Alzheimer's disease. However, dementia can lead to poor nutrition that may be related to different reasons such as a diminished sense of hunger and thirst, problems eating or swallowing, problems using utensils or inability to self-feed, wandering problems, poor food choices, and depression. To get your loved one to eat, try some of the following: