Each flight is about 2 hrs. Then staying in a hotel for 3 nights visiting grandchildren.

Dear Sammy222,
I was professionally a Travel Agent for 38 yrs before I was retired. I should also point out that I was diagnosed with Early onset ALZ 5 yrs ago. I did plan a lot of trips that involved passengers that had Dementia. It is a good idea to let the airline know in advance. I recommend also that you request wheelchair service to get through the Terminal to the Gate Area. They will permit you to have early boarding, I'd suggest you pay for pre-assigned seats at the same time you buy the tickets, that way you know you won't be separated as the plane has filled up.
Yes you will have to spend a little more money, but these types of services will really smooth the way and make your trip be more comfortable for you, your DH, and the other passengers on the plane. I hope you find my comments helpful.
Happy Landings.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to jfbctc
disgustedtoo May 13, 2021
Great to have this advice from someone who not only has dealt with it for travelers, but also can speak from the other side of the mirror!

Thanks for your pointers!
As a person who has dementia, I can tell you changing routines or going places I am not familiar with can cause setbacks. There's confusion, fear, panic and often anger. Tread carefully.
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Reply to GranJan

I strongly recommend asking if a wheelchair is available for his use. Here's why - after many problems travelling with my husband, I had an epiphany that a wheelchair might be part of the answer, as we were travelling abroad and alone. He felt very special, as he received special care. When I asked for one, I explained that with dementia, while he LOOKED ok, he would often get upset, or distracted, and sometimes got lost an an airport. Particular problems were when he wanted to go to the bathroom, and invariably got lost.
1. He was much easier to maneuver throughout the trip, especially when he got tired or cranky, as he was treated 'special'.
2. He was helped on and off the plane, and smiled at by all.
3. He was able to use a handicapped bathroom, with help (me). This was especially helpful, because no one wants to admit to using diapers. Easier, cleaner, less obvious.
4. Much faster travel around the airport, and immensely less worry for me, about the potential for 'losing' him in the melee.

All in all, a very worrisome trip turned into a very good trip.
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Reply to CFTruthSeeker

IF you decide to make this trip PLEASE let the airline know.
They can provide transportation to the gates and to baggage.

Discuss this with his doctor you may need antianxiety medications.
However the very medications that might allow a trip like this may also make his walking unsteady.

A hotel is a very iffy thing as well.
New room, new sounds, exhausted from the trip, confused by the trip.

If there is a way to have the grandchildren visit you rather than you going to them that would be a far better way to do this.
Schedule a Respite Stay for your husband and you make the trip yourself.
That would actually give you a break, him a break and you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about all the little things that can go wrong.
One of them might very well be him demanding to go home even before the first day is over.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Just a comment on connecting flights...when you contact the airlines, ask for assistance to ensure that you can make the flight on time.   I had to fly to Texas at one point to bring both parents back from the Snowbird RV.   We transferred at the Dallas/Fort Worth terminal.   

Both parents were in wheelchairs; I took Mom to the restroom, but Dad had to wheel himself in on his own.   The women's restroom was packed; I was worried that we would miss our flight.  And we almost did.  (The landing site in the airport was a long way from the transfer and second leg of the flight).

When we were through, the final boarding call was issued.    I parked the wheelchairs and ran down to the attendants and asked for help; I couldn't manage 2 wheelchairs on my own.    Not only was help provided, but it was done very graciously, with even one of the cabin crew coming out to help.

I shudder to think of the chaos of being stranded at DFW airport and having to find lodging or waiting until we could get a connecting flight.
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Reply to GardenArtist
Invisible May 14, 2021
The airlines actually drove my father to his flight in a little golf cart with me walking beside with the wheelchair. I was grateful. They also expedited security clearance so we wouldn't have to stand in line for a long time.
This is just my opinion, this will only make his confusion worse and could cause other things to go wrong that you may not be prepared to handle. Why not stay home and send money to the family to travel to come see both of you. That way he can stay in the home where he is familiar and don't take the chance of any outbursts of crying, frustration, anger, etc. I am sure the kids would love to see both of send them the money to come visit you. wish you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451

You'll have to be very vigilant, especially if he has a tendency to wander. Even simple things like him going to the rest room at the airport may become difficult. You should be the one to carry the tickets and all important papers.
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Reply to NancyIS

I see a problem. Dementia or not he is going to need to go thru security. If he is incontinent its going to be hard to do a change in the Airplane toilet. Will he stay in his seat. Wear a mask. I have seen videos where in one the a 2yr old child was snacking. The employee asked that the child put a mask on. Mother said she was told when she bought her tickets that a 2 yr old was not required to wear a mask. The employee again said he needed a mask. The mother than said he was snacking and she would put it on when he finished. She was asked to get off the plane because she questioned the employee. I have seen a few of these. What goes on and what is said in the terminal and happens on the plane are 2 different things it seems.

Make sure you make your travel agent aware that you will need a wheelchair. Should be done at time tickets are ordered.
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Reply to JoAnn29
jacobsonbob May 17, 2021
I'm only being half-facetious when I ask "what's a travel agent?" Just about the last time I dealt with one was some 30 years ago when I was going on trip to Minneapolis, and was told the flight would be about an hour. I mentioned that city is in another time zone, so it would actually be about TWO hours. The agent said "oh, that's right--I need to learn more about that!" The internet has made most of them superfluous (in this age of electronic tickets, especially for experienced travelers), and has enabled one to avoid taking a chance on some, such as the one I described, who are potentially detrimental.
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As long as you can keep him on a fairly consistent routine and he will follow your directions, he will be able to handle it. Expect that he might be more confused or anxious in the evenings. It might be a good idea to talk to his doctor about having a mild anti-anxiety medication available if needed. You will also need to have him with you at all times - use the family bathroom.

Have a good visit.
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Reply to Taarna

we traveled with mom on southwest; when ticketing i noted the need for a wheelchair and it was provided with an attendant at each stop (connections), including asking if she need a restroom stop...cannot say enough about their graciousness, helpfulness, efficiency ( of course we did have to try to contain her comments in flight about being up in the clouds with Jesus...)
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Reply to mommyskids

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