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Tips on travelling with dementia


Registered User
Feb 19, 2009
Torquay Devon
Tips on Travelling with Dementia... Please share , hope this helps ............

As you know i have just recently come back from a few days in my home town of Bolton which is nearly a 500 mile round trip. This is a good distance at the best of times, but when you have dementia it can feel like a trip around the world, and not a nice one at that. But what does Elaine and other carers do? We need to see our loved ones, i am never happier than when i have my babies around me and grandchildren, but as a few of them live up North if we didnt make the trip we would only see them very occasionally, and not to see them, i believe would be detrimental to mine and other`s health who have this awful disease, so i do believe its all about the planning.


When we go anywhere we always make sure the prescriptions are put in two weeks early so there is no hold up when we collect them. We always take an extra weeks supply just in case one of us is ill and have to stay longer, and as a back up we always take a spare prescription as if we lose our luggage, we can still collect a full script of medication which is so important when dealing with anybody in your care


Time of day is essential !! any afternoon or later starts would be a definite no go because if SUNDOWNING kicked in within the confines of a car, coach, train, the results could be awful, and the pressure on the carer immense. Very early starts can be troublesome because some with dementia are not that good at early starts. Sitting in queues is not advisable either, although we all know this cannot be helped at times, especially on long Journeys , so plan the time you set off and your ETA (estimated time of arrival) As we live in Torquay it can sometimes take us as long to get to Exeter than it can from Bristol to Birmingham (I kid you not) so we Always set off at 9.15 am, just after the rush hour and can usually get to Bolton by about 2pm This can be used as a rule of thumb wherever you are.

Keeping occupied ?

I have often said the Music is one of the best therapies for dementia and can play a big part in a very relaxed Journey with the right planning. In car, plan your day with taking favorite music CD`s. Have a look at your collection, sit down with the person with dementia and ask them what their fave music is so they can look forward to listening to it Then, during the journey mix it up a little, first jazz, then rock, then classical etc, if thats what they like , and please dont to forget to include your music as well !! We also pick out familiar and popular HGVs such as Eddie Stobbart, or Tesco, Asda etc and count how many we see on the journey, just to see who can spot the most, simple,? yes, but such a lot of fun, especially when a Eddie stobbart wagon is pulling a Tesco trailer !! On a train trip or coach trip the same can be applied but with CD players I pods ets,

Comfort breaks

Please stop at regular intervals and especially when the person with dementia starts to get a little restless, a walk, a change of scenery etc can do the world of good. We break our journey up in three goes and we always stop, if at all possible , at familiar places like places you have stopped before, engage the person with dementia by asking them if they remember being here before, ? whats their fave stop or service station, Inclusion and engagement at all times.

A good old fashioned Rubik cube is great for some as its tactile, inquisitive and can keep people occupied for so long, (I have to admit this does not include me as after 5 mins it would go out of the car window LOL LOL . Talk about points of interest along the way, landmarks, have they every been there, what do they remember Etc. Maybe a fidget quilt or something similar, all these will keep the person with dementia occupied and can help make a very unpleasant journey a happy and relaxed one.

The most important this is liquid intake, ALWAYS Make sure you carry water or a flask with you in case you get stuck in traffic in hot weather , this may seem common sense on any long journey but with the added dangers of dehydration and UTI`s its especially important to remember these things.

PLANNING is the main thing, plan all events and possible eventualities it will make things so much simpler and easier. When taking a train journey, consider the amount of stops, changes etc as trying to get somebody on and off a train who has dementia can be an absolute nightmare, and train times can be unforgiving if you miss a connection, please study well and give yourself plenty of time between changes.

As a person living with dementia i hope you find this advice useful and helpful , a lot of this is just good old fashioned common sense, and yet, if applied, would make travelling with someone who has dementia a better experience.


Best wishes, Norrms "Diagnosed with Dementia aged 50 , just seven years ago xxxxxxxxx


Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
Some very good advice Norrms, My husband can only travel short distances, we did try further with plenty of stops but he was too distressed so now if we go away it is 20 miles at the most,


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Indeed Norrms, good advice.

We've just returned this afternoon following a week in Spain. I agree totally that good forward planning is the key to any successful trip. Mind you we now need a holiday to recover from our holiday!:D

The Scottish Dementia Working Group produced a leaflet about travelling/holidays. People might be interested to see it so I have posted the link here -


It was produced by people who have dementia and although it clearly refers to Scotland it does echo much of what you have said.

Of course the Alzheimer's Society also has a factsheet on travelling with dementia -


Thanks again for sharing your personal experience Norrms.