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You and your loved one can still enjoy summer travel. For many families, summer is the time of year for vacation getaways.  For those caring for loved ones with early stage dementia, the carefree days of summer are a little harder to come by.  Here are a few tips for traveling with dementia.

Enjoyable travel is still possible for families living with early dementia, with a little extra preparation.

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Start by gathering all of your important documents, even if you don’t think you’ll need them.  Insurance cards, passports, medical records, medication lists and physician contact information are a good start. (Be sure to keep these in a carry-on or somewhere close to you so they can’t be misplaced.)  Then be prepared to change plans suddenly or return home if necessary.
  1. Maintain routines. Even while you’re away, try to follow the same routine as at home as changes can stressful for your loved one. Remember to pack the music player and earbuds, favorite hat, sweater or other calming items or activities. Be sure to allow plenty of time for everything and schedule rest periods.
  1. Minimize the baggage. Because you will have enough to take care of, pack light. If you are flying, use luggage with wheels and check your bags to your final destination.  But, remember to keep a full change of clothes for you and your loved one with you.
  1. Enlist the aid of others. By advising the airline and hotel of your needs in advance, you can gain access to easier accommodations.  Early boarding, seats near restrooms and in-terminal assistance is available for anyone flying with someone with additional needs.  If you are driving, be sure to bring another friend, family member, or caregiver who can share in the driving or keep your loved one engaged.
  1. Laugh a little. The most important thing to pack is your sense of humor.  And never be afraid to ask for help.

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