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Three Challenges a Person with Alzheimer’s Faces When Traveling

Alzheimer’s Care in Hollywood FL

During the holiday season millions upon millions of Americans will be traveling. Some of those Americans will have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. In most cases, they will be traveling with other family members or friends, but still traveling for these men and women could be difficult.

Alzheimer's Care in Hollywood FL

Alzheimer’s Care in Hollywood FL

Memory loss and other signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can cause discomfort, anxiety, stress, and even fear.

A person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s might appear fine with the plan to go visit another family member in another state, but after several hours in the car, they could become anxious and want to return home.

Redirection may not always work.

Trying to redirect that individual is reasonable. Telling them they’re going to visit their brother, granddaughter, or some other loved one they haven’t seen in a long time may be enough to keep them calm and reserved. It might even offer them great comfort.

However, that doesn’t always work. They might suddenly feel so overwhelmed by their memory loss, emotions, fear, and distress that they become agitated, flailing their hands, trying to open the door while you’re cruising down the highway, yelling, screaming, and carrying on a fit.

Here are three possible challenges a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may face when traveling. The more aware you are of these challenges, the more easily you might be able to help them stay calm and prevent a potentially serious situation from arising.

Potential Challenge #1: Disorientation.

When a senior becomes disoriented, they don’t know where they are. They might not recognize you or anyone else in the car, plane, or train with them. They might even assume they’re stopped in the driveway of the house they grew up in, instead of cruising at 70 miles an hour down the highway.

Potential Challenge #2: Confusion.

If the senior is confused, doesn’t understand what’s going on, he or she might lash out. Imagine that person in the passenger seat of the car turning and punching, hitting, pulling on, or doing other physical outward aggressive acts against the driver of the car.

When a person is confused, it is far too easy to feel like everyone, the entire world, is against them. They just want some kind of comfort.

Potential Challenge #3: Wanting to go home.

When a senior seems calm, but keeps saying he or she wants to go home, ignoring it may only exacerbate the problem.

What can be done in these situations?

If driving a car, pulling over on the side of the highway is not a safe alternative. However, if that’s a safer alternative than having the driver being pulled, pushed, or hit, that may be necessary.

The best thing is to pull over at the next exit, in a safe area, such as a truck stop or rest area, and allow the situation to calm down before moving on. Relying on an experienced home care aide to travel with the senior may also be a reasonable option to consider.

If you or an aging loved one need help with Alzheimer’s care in Hollywood, FL, please contact the caring staff at Responsive Home Health. Call today! 954-486-6440

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Debbie Savage, RN, BSN

President and Director of Nursing at Responsive Home Health
Debbie Savage is a Registered Nurse and the President of Responsive Home Health. Ms. Savage founded Responsive in 1994 and she has a long history of caring for the elderly in Broward County. Prior to opening Responsive she owned and managed assisted living facilities.

Debbie says, "Being able to make a difference in a person's life is an honor. We are given that opportunity every day at Responsive Home Health and we take it seriously. It is often the little things we do, a kind voice of encouragement or a simple "helping hand" that can improve our clients' quality of life."

Debbie is very active in the community. She is an alumnus of Barry University, Leadership Broward Foundation and Hollywood Leadership. She also supports many other non-profits in the community.

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