Woman in wheelchair preparing to travel

Traveling with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful. That is true both for that person and for you as their caregiver. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia tend to struggle with, and be upset by, changes in their surroundings or routine. However, as a skilled nursing provider, we know there are steps you can take to minimize the stress.  

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Strategies for Safe Trips

Preparation and patience are the keys to safe, uneventful trips. So, below are some things you can do to make the trip more enjoyable for them and for you.

  • Have your loved one wear an identification bracelet. An ID bracelet, writing the person’s name on the tags in their clothing and having your contact information in their wallet are ways to help reconnect you if you get separated.
  • Carry medications and contact information with you. Especially if flying and checking bags, be sure that you carry on your loved one’s medications. You should also keep information about their medication doses and medical conditions with you. Plus, you should have contact information for their doctor and skilled nursing provider.
  • Take reminders of home with you. Having familiar objects like their pillow, a favorite blanket or photos with them can help a person with Alzheimer’s feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  • Minimize travel disruptions like layovers. The fewer times you have to introduce your loved one to a new environment the happier they are likely to be. If flying, take advantage of pre-boarding offers to give your loved one time to acclimate to their surroundings.
  • Build buffer time into your schedule. Traveling with someone who has cognitive challenges can take significantly longer than other trips, as they may need help with many tasks. Be sure you allow for this in planning your agenda.
  • Consider the person’s capabilities. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, some trips may be too much for the person and/or for you. Have realistic expectations about what you and your loved one can accomplish.
  • Weigh the benefits of staying at a hotel vs. in a relative’s home. In some cases, getting a room at a hotel may help minimize overstimulation that can be detrimental to an elder’s peace of mind. If you do stay at a hotel, let hotel staff know about any special needs your loved one has. 
  • Share your itinerary with other loved ones. Be sure family and friends know how, when and where you are traveling so they can be prepared to take action in an emergency.


Enjoy Your Change of Scenery

At our skilled nursing facility in Loveland, we know that a change of scenery can be good for elders (including those with Alzheimer’s disease) and their caregivers under the right conditions. With adequate planning, those trips can be less stressful and even enjoyable for everyone involved.