Any advice on flying with AD patients ?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Stimpfig, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Stimpfig

    Stimpfig Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    135
    Germany/India
    Hi

    I have recently joined this group and posted into a few threads. As I mentioned in one of those, 6 years ago, I brought my mum all the way from India to Germany so that I could take care of her myself (she has no other children). Thanks to my understanding hubby, we managed to get guardianship for her but she only has a travel insurance which means I pay all her medical bills. This being the case, I had to fly her back twice to India , once for an eye operation. The first time, we managed quite well. The second time, however, she wandered out of the transit hotel in India and was found along some railway tracks after a 3-hour long search. On return, back in Germany, she was disoriented for about two months. On the flight, she kept wanting to remove the seat belt and was quite difficult to manage.

    I have been taking some measures in that I give her a double dose of air-sickness tablets to kind of sedate her but can't overdo it due to security checks at every stage. I have been breaking journey in the gulf countries and staying in transit hotels so that she gets a night's rest before the connecting flight.

    I am not sure if what I have been doing is the right approach. Unfortunately, as she will turn 80 next year, we won't be able to extend her stay in Germany and I will have to accompany her back to India and probably relocate myself.

    I would welcome suggestions on how best to manage an AD patient on long haul flights and what should I actually do. A direct flight from Germany to India takes about 10 hours and break journey flight is about 5 hours each.

    I am quite worried now and want to begin my preparations right away. It has been very draining on me - I have had 3 surgeries in the recent past including one eye surgery but had to take care of mum, even as an operated patient myself. :(

    I am now looking forward to some advice ;) Thanks a lot for your help and support.

    Sue Stimpfig
     
  2. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Hi Sue, can't think how you cope with the problems of flying, however I suppose it all depends on the level of co-operation you are getting from your Mum. I do feel that you are asking a lot of an 80 year old. I do not mean that unkindly, but from my own point of view, I am having difficulity managing Lionel, who is 64, because of toiletting problems etc.

    I know it is not something you undertake lightly, and not without the best of intentions, but it really is up to you. Assess the situation and take it from there. I have found, no matter how much help you have put in place in advance, it comes down to how good our loved ones are on the day.

    Don't mean to sound negative, I really miss you all the very best with your journeys. Please let us know if you find the magic formula. Warmest regards, Connie
     
  3. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Sue, I know it may seem obvious, but ...

    Have you consulted your mother's Doctor or Consultant on the subject? They are likely to have come across the situation before.

    Best Wishes
     
  4. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    #4 Norman, Oct 24, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2005
    Sue
    Our young son has bought a villa in Portugal.
    We have discussed the flying situation and we agreed that it would be must disruptive for Peg.
    She has problems now with a car journey, and it is not ony the flight but the confusion being in a strange place abroad.
    Then there is another flight to return!!
    Add to this the problems of toilets and remaining seated for two hours.
    I am aware that tranquilisers can be given for the flight but this is only one part of the problem.
    I consider that that the least change in environment,the least change in life style is my choice for us.
    It is of course up to each individual but I don;t believe in creating problems that can be avoided.
    We now settle for what we can get in this country,at least we can return home fairly quickly if the need arises,and it has in the past.
    My opinion
    Norman
     
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    For our last trip abroad I took Jan to Barbados as she loved the West Indies.

    While there we had problems - had to go to A& E when she broke a contact lens in her eye [so the lenses went from her life soon after as well], and she clearly was troubled, sitting on the beach.

    Anyway, a few days before our return, I asked the holiday rep if we could have 3 seats across to ourselves, on the return trip - as we had done on the way out.

    She blanched and said "we mustn't tell the airline that your wife has dementia... they might refuse to fly her". So we used the tack that she was nervous of flying, and that did the trick.

    Point being that there are more issues than the comfort and well-being of the dementia patient here. We have covered this on TP in the past - there is the issue of whether one needs to tell the airline, the insurance company, the holiday company, the hotel, etc.

    It would be awful to get somewhere, then have to return prematurely.

    In our last exchange on this topic, it seemed there was no major problem with insurance, etc. Hopefully that is the case, but we need to bear these things in mind.

    There was a nice touch to our final flight back from Barbados. When they came round asking about drinks, I asked if they did Champagne by the small bottle, as it was our 27th Wedding Anniversary. They said "no, we only do full bottles". So we ordered fruit juices.

    A short time later one of the cabin staff came down the aisle with a tray and two glasses of Champagne, and presented them to us, courtesy of the cabin crew, wishing us both a happy flight.
     
  6. JANICE

    JANICE Registered User

    Jun 28, 2005
    23
    SOUTHAMPTON
    Just on the subject of travel insurance, when I had to arrange some for Keith and myself at the start of this year I informed the insurance company that he had Alzheimers and they said they would have to check. This they did and came back to me thanking me for informing them but they said that it made no difference to the insurance and wouldn't cost any more. However, last year when we went to the Dominican Republic again I informed the insurance company and they charged an extra £7.50 for Keith but then again they charged extra for me because I have high blood pressure (I wonder why!!!) so from our experience the insurance companies don't seem to be that bothered about it but I think it's probably better to inform them anyway just to cover yourself.



    Janice
     
  7. Stimpfig

    Stimpfig Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    135
    Germany/India
    Hi again

    I would like to thank everyone for their responses and for sharing their experiences and opinions. Nada, thank you for the link - I looked it up and found some useful information there.

    Connie, I am afraid I have had to subject my mum to this ordeal for want of a better/viable alternative. Like everyone else's, my case has a history behind it, narration of which probably is beyond the scope of TP.

    Just to cut a long story short, my father (healthy) died suddenly when I was 17 (I am 43 now). Mum hadn't learnt how to cope - so I just took the burden on myself - had to and have been taking care of everything for me and mum since 1979! To begin with, my mum had a neurotic personality and when I met and married my husband (German national) 7 years ago, she couldn't bear the separation and broke down - she went down the continuum and suffered from what's called parnoid schizophrenia.

    I had arranged alternative care for mum in India but her behaviour made it difficult for everyone else - relatives, friends and care takers that I had to rush back and - bring her to live with me in Germany. But now, she has moved further down the continuum and is suffering from Dementia and seems like I am the only one she actually responds to. I am beginning to think, esp. after the previous experience, that I should fly her back for good while she is still mobile and responsive and set up a home myself (there is a dearth of suitable homes in India as this concept is relatively new in Indian society) where I could arrange her care as I deem fit.


    But I was pleased to hear that Bruce could take a holiday with Jan - that's wonderful. In the end, where there is a will, there is a way :)

    Sue Stimpfig
     
  8. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Well, it was a long time ago now, but as at all steps along this path, I'm glad that I managed to wring out a last holiday for her. It all comes down to what is best for them, and what causes them the least worry.

    As soon as the balance swings to cause them more problems than benefits, that is the time to stop, and it is such a hard decision to make.

    Best wishes for your own journey!
     
  9. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Sue, sorry, never meant to suggest that what you were doing for Mum was wrong in any way. I know you would only ever have her best interest at heart. I was just thinking of flying etc. for any 80 year old.

    Again apoligies if I spoke out of turn. Warmest regards, Connie
     
  10. Stimpfig

    Stimpfig Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    135
    Germany/India
    Dear Connie - Oh, no - don't apologise. I am a very open-minded person and I give due thought and consideration to another person's viewpoints. In fact, you have stated the right thing - and this actually helps one make a decision. You see, I am in a dilemma - if I were to return to India, it means giving up my job here and relocating with hubby and starting all over again. If I just leave my mum in a home and stay here in Germany, I would feel I have abandoned her and I know for sure, without me, she will just wither away. I am, so to say, in between the devil and the deep-sea.

    Thanks for your support.

    Take care,
    Sue
     

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