How to Travel Safely with Someone with Dementia: A Checklist

Are you gearing up for a trip with your loved one who has dementia? Planning and preparation are your best allies for a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here's a checklist of essential steps to make your travel experience stress-free and safe:

Consult with a Healthcare Professional

Before your trip, schedule a visit with your loved one's healthcare provider. Ensure they are physically fit for travel, and discuss any specific medical needs or concerns related to the journey.

Pack Medications

Ensure you have an ample supply of medications and a list specifying the names, dosages, and administration schedules. Keep these medications in their original containers, and bring extra doses in case of delays.

Medical Records

Carry a copy of your loved one's medical records, including allergies, chronic conditions, and emergency contact information. This information is vital if you need medical assistance during your trip.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers unexpected events or emergencies. Verify that the policy includes coverage for medical issues related to dementia.

identification bracelet


Ensure your loved one wears an identification bracelet or necklace with their name, your contact information, and a note about their condition. This can be invaluable in case they become separated from you.

Familiarise Them with the Destination

Consider introducing your loved one to the travel destination whenever possible before embarking on the trip. Sharing photos, discussing plans, and explaining where you'll be staying can help create a sense of familiarity. This familiarity can significantly reduce anxiety during the journey. Choosing a destination already familiar to your loved one might be the best option for a smoother travel experience.

Comfort Items

When packing for your journey, be sure to include comfort items that are familiar to your loved one. Consider items like a favourite blanket, a cherished stuffed animal, or a music player with soothing tunes. These familiar objects can offer comfort and play a crucial role in reducing agitation during travel.

Snacks and Hydration

Pack Familiar Snacks

Bringing along a selection of familiar snacks can provide a sense of comfort and reassurance to your loved one. Opt for items they enjoy and recognise, as these can evoke positive feelings and memories. Whether it's their favourite trail mix, a bag of sliced apples, or a pack of crackers, these familiar snacks can provide comfort throughout the trip.

Hydration Matters

Dehydration can exacerbate confusion and restlessness, so maintaining proper hydration is crucial. Keep a supply of water readily available during the journey. Consider using a spill-proof water bottle or a travel-friendly hydration pack to make sipping easy and convenient. Offering water during rest stops ensures your loved one stays well-hydrated, promoting their overall comfort.

Easy-to-Eat Options

Alongside water, provide easy-to-eat snacks that don't require much effort to consume. Individually portioned snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, or pre-cut vegetables can be ideal choices. These snacks not only satiate hunger but also reduce the risk of choking or spillage.

Travel During Their Best Times

Plan your travel schedule around your loved one's best times of day. If they tend to be more alert and calm in the morning, aim for morning flights or departures.

road trip rest stops and stretch

Plan Rest Stops

When embarking on a road trip with your loved one who has dementia, thoughtful planning is essential. One crucial aspect of this planning is scheduling regular rest stops. Here's how to make the most of these breaks:

Schedule Adequate Breaks

Plan your journey with several rest stops along the way. Frequent breaks allow your loved one to stretch, use the restroom, and simply relax, reducing the risk of discomfort and behavioural changes resulting from prolonged travel.

Select Dementia-Friendly Facilities

Consider destinations with dementia-friendly facilities when mapping out your route. Look for rest areas, service stations, or restaurants that provide clean and accessible restrooms. These facilities can make your loved one's travel experience more comfortable.

Stretch and Move

Utilise rest stops as an opportunity for light physical activity. Encourage your loved one to stretch their legs and take a short walk if possible. These simple exercises can help alleviate stiffness, lower the chance of obstipation and promote circulation.

Comfort Breaks

Remember that a full bladder can lead to agitation or discomfort. Ensure your loved one can use the restroom during breaks, even if they don't express their need.

toilet senoirs


Bring entertainment options such as books, puzzles, or music to keep your loved one engaged and distracted during travel downtime.

Emergency Kit

Prepare an emergency kit with essentials like first-aid supplies, extra clothing, and hygiene items. You never know when you might need them.

Caregiver Respite

If you're the primary caregiver, consider arranging for short breaks during the journey. This allows you to rest and recharge, reducing the risk of caregiver burnout.

Patience and Flexibility

Lastly, maintain a patient and flexible attitude. Travelling with someone who has dementia may present unexpected challenges, but with patience and adaptability, you can overcome them.

By following this checklist and adequately preparing, you can embark on your journey confidently, knowing that you've taken the necessary steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your loved one. Safe travels! 🌍✈️🚗 


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