As a caregiver, holiday travel could be a welcome break in the routine if family members are able to help with care. When you travel, the responsibilities of a caretaker are the same. Careful planning is essential for every trip, which must include plans for caregiving responsibilities when traveling with a person with dementia. Some people hire a professional caregiver to accompany them on the trip so family members can have a respite from caregiving.
Traveling with your Loved One and Respite Care
Full-time caregivers need breaks, and an occasional vacation is an important part of your ability to provide the care your loved one will require in the long term. Respite care, either in your home or at a long-term care community, will provide all the care and medical supervision that your loved one needs, while keeping their schedule and activities consistent. Look for a community that specializes in dementia care. You can then relax and enjoy your holiday trip while knowing your loved one is receiving the best possible care and having a vacation of his or her own.
Trying a short trip is a great way to judge how your family member will handle travel. You’ll get a better idea of the responsibilities and challenges of caregiving while traveling. Here are some ideas:
- Keep the travel time for your trip to just a few days and close to home, or take a day trip
- Take note on how your loved one reacts to riding in a car for long periods, unfamiliar surroundings and situations that are out of the ordinary.
- Encourage celebrations early in the day or have a holiday lunch rather than dinner. This will reduce the likelihood of sundowning.
- Taking a loved one home for a celebration is an individual decision. It is best to have a trial run a week or so before, perhaps just going out for a drive or to a restaurant.
Discovering these limitations and needs can be extremely helpful in planning a longer trip, or to decide if it would be better to travel without your loved one.