Travelling with demetia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Rosey75, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Rosey75

    Rosey75 Registered User

    Jul 29, 2015
    I help care for my Mum who has mid stage early onset Alzheimer's disease. My brother lives in the US and would like her to visit later on this year, however, I am worried that this would be to traumatic for her and possibly make her go downhill further taking her out of 'her comfort zone'. She gets very disorientated now and also has trouble using toilets, especially public ones and struggles with locks. It is an 11 hour flight which I think she would find too much. Has anyone else been in this situation or has anyone got any ideas on the best way forward with this?
  2. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Hi Rosey and welcome.

    I took my Mum to South Africa to her Grandson's wedding when she was 84 ( ish) and mid stage.....however this was a journey she was very familiar with and she was not left alone. We were there for two weeks and on the journey home she asked why we had been:eek::rolleyes:
    I would not have allowed her to travel on her own and luckily my sister was somewhat up to date with her illness, but even so it was what can only be described as bloody hard work!!! I don't know if your family realise that Mum probably cannot be left alone at any time.

    You also will need to make sure that she has sufficient cover on her travel insurance...medical fees in the States are horrendously expensive and sadly she could be vulnerable to acccidents.

    Having said all that, Mum might have a whale of a know her and your family best.!:D
  3. submarine

    submarine Registered User

    Apr 5, 2013
    Hello there,

    only you can decide. Maybe with input from her doctor.
    It depends on so many things. Where in the States?
    Could she tolerate continence pads for the journey?
    As mentioned health insurance is a must.
    When I took my Ma on a cruise she was pretty much velcroed to me at all times. She was mid stage VD and very disabled...which meant I didn t have to worry about her wandering but the logistics were a nightmare.
    We had a wonderful time and I don't regret a minute of it.

    Wishing you the best and keep us updated


    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  4. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    If you accompany your mum there is some chance that she would actually get there in one piece.
    But I think this is a completely stupid idea. Tell him to come and visit her himself.
  5. starryuk

    starryuk Registered User

    Nov 8, 2012
    #5 starryuk, Jul 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
    I brought my mum back from Australia. She was a very experienced traveller and had done the journey many times. At that stage mum was confused and forgetful but with us to cook, clean and do the driving, things were manageable. This trip with me tipped her over the edge. I shudder every time I remember what went on during that flight. Frightening and completely unexpected. I was so naive about dementia then.:eek:

    Mum was never the same after that flight and her move back to UK. She went downhill very fast.

    So, from me, a definite NO vote. However, if you do decide to proceed, my advice is to take/ have 2 people with your mum. One to watch over her and another to sort out luggage, documents etc. Give your mum a sedative, organize wheelchair assistance and be prepared for the time difference to really unsettle her as well.
  6. Rosey75

    Rosey75 Registered User

    Jul 29, 2015

    Thank you all for your input, I completely agree that Mum should not travel that far, I think it would be horrific for her. Unfortunately I am currently in battle with my brother and father over this. She last flew 7 years ago (before diagnosis) and my Dad had issues then... My brother has not seen my Mum since last May and hasn't seen her for years out of her own environment, so does not have a clear picture of how difficult things are for her and how much she has declined in the last 14 months - very frustrating. She also has an issue with wandering and got 'lost' for over 2 hours on a holiday in the UK 2 years ago. That is also a very good point about the time difference, I hadn't even thought of that.

    Thanks again, I shall keep battling...
  7. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Rosey, you know your mum best, but I would proceed with caution. It sounds like a very long flight and there are also the other bits: packing, going to the airport, clearing security, waiting, the flight, possible flight delays, the time change, getting to your brother's house, and then the whole thing to do over, in reverse. If you do go, I'd make sure you get clearance from her doctor and definitely have help for the journey. You mention she has trouble using public toilets. How will your mother manage the toilets on the plane? There really isn't room in those for two people, usually.

    You also mention your mother has trouble with wandering. What would happen if she did this in the States, at your brother's? Would he be equipped to deal with this?

    I wonder if you can enlist the GP to take some of the burden off you. If you are able to say to your brother, the doctor says she can't travel that far, or cannot fly, or whatever, it makes the doctor the bad guy, not you.

    I understand that your brother hasn't seen your mum for a while and probably doesn't understand why this is a bad idea. Having said that, I am with sistermillicent: it's a terrible idea, he's mad to propose it, and he is the one who should get on a plane!
  8. Hans&Lotte

    Hans&Lotte Registered User

    Jul 22, 2015
    Took my mum to Cyprus with my sister, daughter and her husband, just made sure the last thing we did was make her go to the loo before we boarded, it was 5 hrs but she didn't need to go and when we landed got her to the loo again but also I had her in Tenna pants, God send. I know we couldn't have gone 11 hrs, but I would have taken her if she had needed it,
  9. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013
    I totally understand your dilemma.
    I'm my dad's carer. He has dementia with let bodies.
    My mother has spine problems and he has been her carer for 30yrs.
    Recently they decided to go to benidorm my mum's curiosity about the place made it somewhere she wanted to go.
    My dad not aware of his limits and abilities was happy to agree event hough it would've been so hard for him. My mum knew she couldn't cope but was relying on us to put a stop to it. We didn't as my mum needs to make realistic decisions for herself and that then would make us the baddies.
    I think travel is great but it's down to the to risk assess the pros and cons and very often as carers who have spent years learning about our loved ones..can see dangers or even the difficulties our loved ones would have to go through.

    There are disability officers on all airlines...but your right to give them dignity every aspect has to be right. Including toilet facilities.
    I would take advice from the gp in relation to cabin pressure and dvt and psychological well being of a journey taking in to consideration hoe your loved one is generally in small spaces ..loud spaces..lots of people etc.
    Your mum might be a regular flight user ..but clearly you've lots to consider.

    Could your brother come over??

    Best wishes
  10. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013
    Sorry some misspellings in my text. New phone!!!!!
  11. ronyork

    ronyork Registered User

    Apr 28, 2015
    Hi Hen.... Best to realize holidays are hard work with loved ones suffering from dementia more so than at home. Make sure your insurances are all in order,problems will be expensive. We now do not go abroad its not wrth the worry.
  12. yadit0

    yadit0 Registered User

    Mar 26, 2014
    Traveling with Dementia

    Hi Last year we took Mum of 87 to the USA to visit her nieces for 3 weeks, she has Alzheimer's. We had no problems at all we had assistance at the airport which was fantastic. Even though our flight was cancelled and had to go an alternative route nothing fazed Mum. We had a 10 flight then a connecting flight of a further hour and again had assistance from airport staff to get us safely through the terminal. Once there she had a fantastic time (I think) as now she does not remember a thing about her trip. Hope this helps.
  13. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013

    Write out your reasons why this trip is a bad idea, and alternative's available (brother comes to you) give all parties a copy.
    Ensure that they are well aware that you will have no part in organising or taking part, in either the trip or the homecoming and its effects on your mother.
    In short they must without your help, take full and complete responsibility.


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