This info is from a friend whose fil has Alz. She asked me for my opinion. I know there are many here with much experience with Alz patients. I said I would look for feedback, as I have time and she is busy.
Her mil has asked them to go on a trip with mil and fil, as she cannot manage him alone.My friend is looking for advice as to what is best and how to handle it. She thinks that taking him is too much, and that this is a good opportunity to try respite. Mil is not facing that yet, I think I agree that a trip is not wise, but then how does she approach her mil? Here is the info she gave me about him. All feedback is welcome.
I don't know what stage he is at, or what drugs he takes although I think he is on something that is supposed to slow down the progression of the disease. His wife slips a sedative(Lorazepam, I think) into his coffee when he starts to get agitated, especially in the evening, but not too often because she doesn't want him to get addicted. It helps a lot. He sometimes knows that she is his wife, but other times is scared that his wife will come home and find him with "another woman" (her). He thinks Al (his son) is one of his old friends from back in the day. He gets quite verbally abusive toward his wife in the evenings or when he thinks she is keeping things from him. He gets fixated on ideas, such as thinking that someone has stolen or hidden his car. On holidays, he is constantly mistaking his whereabouts for some other place. When he comes to Fort McMurray, he often thinks he is in the USA. He no longer asks questions about the oilsands when he is here, as he used to. His memory is only for a few minutes, as he will often ask the same question only a minute or so after he has been given the answer. He still plays Solitaire, but does it wrong and his wife is constantly trying to correct him. He can read the newspaper sometimes, but only aloud and of course with no retention. Wherever he is, he picks up and hoards papers - flyers, newspapers, showbills, etc.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Thansk so much, jeanne. I will get back to my friend with your questions, and post the answers. I know you speak with the voice of experience.
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What would the trip be like? Is it going directly to a destination and staying there, or a road trip with different places to sleep every night? Will it involve public transportation? Can he handle toileting himself? Does he have mobility problems? How long will the trip last? Did he enjoy travel in the past, or did it always make him grumpy and impatient? Have they taken short outings since his Alz?

All of these things factor into the decision.

For me the number one question to answer is "Will he enjoy this trip?" I guarantee that it won't be a vacation for the MIL or the Friend. So if MIL is looking for a pleasant break, this ain't it! Respite care is a better option unless there is a very good chance FIL will enjoy this. Then his pleasure will be the payoff for the effort involved.

My husband did enjoy trips very much. He looked forward to them, and he enjoyed looking at the scrapbook I always made on return. He liked bringing a slide show to his day program. His dementia doctor encouraged trips. (He had Lewy Body Dementia, which is different in many ways than Alz.)

We took many trips during the 9.5 years he had dementia. The first was a cruise to Tahiti (how I ever did that I can't imagine now!) and the last was a domestic cruise in Lake Michigan, 6 months before he died. We took a sleeper car on the train to Montana and visited Glacier Park. We flew to Arizona and saw the Grand Canyon. We did a lot of travel! But I cannot emphasize enough that the trips were for him. I enjoyed seeing the sights, too, of course, but my responsibilities and providing care were greatly complicated. Just using public bathrooms was a challenge. On our last trip his daughter came with us. I don't think I could have done it alone.

MIL is wise to want a helper on the trip. Whether the trip itself is wise depends mostly on whether/how much FIL will enjoy it, in my opinion.
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