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Traveling with a dementia patient.

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NYDaughterInLaw: What you experienced NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED! I myself was a medical emergency on a flight from Manchester, NH to Baltimore back in the day and was handled with respect and care!
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I did all that at the airport and it was still a nightmare. I got the wheelchair at the curb. I did curbside baggage check. I went through TSA in a separate lane where MIL and her wheelchair were rubbed down with "wands" and all her private parts patted down. I got priority boarding and we even flew first class once because we all got upgraded using points. All that sounds great until....

Flight delayed! Then, "holding it" because it was a short flight is no longer an option. MIL, who is catheterized, is not simple to toilet. She cannot do it herself anymore. I've used many handicapped bathrooms at airports and, unless they were just cleaned, they often smelled terrible. I've even gone looking for a janitor.

I've done the pre-boarding. Big deal. It does nothing for the reality of MIL's comfort because the bathrooms on planes are too small for my MIL and me to toilet her. She's had accidents in flight. Do ***you*** want to sit in her seat after she's had an explosive event? I don't think so! I've been on a flight where the previous person in my seat spilled all over it and it delayed the flight by 20 minutes until maintenance brought me a new seat cushion with seat belt.

I won't travel with my inlaws because I think it's thoughtless and selfish to subject a plane full of people to their frailties. MIL has spilled tomato juice all over herself, the seat next to her, and into the aisle. MIL has had accidents that smelled bad and we all endured it for hours. We once were that medical emergency.

I would think long and hard about whether or not you must fly a person who is frail, incontinent, and/or demented. I won't do it anymore because I think I've tried everything short of hiring a private jet.
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KnotJust4Me: I wanted to include a separate post about my cousin, whose MIL had a stroke 4 years ago. Two years ago, they traveled by car from Florida to Tennessee on a vacation. My cousin said it was an horrific experience and her MIL will not ever travel again.
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KnotJust4Me: If you are traveling by air, you CAN and WILL be the first person to board the plane. You must advise the airline of the need for this during check-in, though. They will bump you up to the front of the line. Also, if you have a medical emergency in flight, such as sick to stomach, etc., tell the flight attendant while in flight and number #1, they will give you a vomit bag, number #2, they will announce that there is a medical emergency on board, and number #3, upon landing, the flight attendants will have the EMT's come onto the plane and retrieve the ill person, e.g. medical emergency.
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I no longer will travel with my inlaws and they aren't demented. If an event is under an hour by car, we make every effort to get them there. But as for trips involving planes or trains - absolutely not. I don't want to do all the travel prep and inevitable cleanup of accidents anymore. I don't want to work around poorly designed hotel rooms. I don't want those looks I used to get wheeling MIL around the airport all slumped over in her wheelchair. And I don't want to be responsible for delaying an entire flight of passengers because something went wrong. I don't feel selfish or bad about it. It is what it is.
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I am with JoAnn29 on this subject. If you HAVE to travel I have a few suggestions.
By air..notify the airlines get a cart to help you both to the gate. You will be allowed on earlier so she can get settled. (Or maybe waiting until last so that she does not have to wait sitting while everyone walks past. It depends on the personality)
Ask the Dr about an anti-anxiety medication that can be taken. The problem with that is it may make the person less able to move safely so if the flight lands before the meds wear off it is not real safe to have the person walk to the terminal. But again have the airline provide a cart to transport you to baggage
If you are traveling by car, if you can make the drive a non stop one that would be best. Stop for bathroom and a short rest. The car will be a "safe" place where they are comfortable.
A hotel is a new strange place, different sounds, different lay out and the possibility of wandering is very real.
I would suggest if possible placing the person in Respite so you can have a break and enjoy the trip. If this is a move or a trip that can not be avoided then make sure that you put a wrist band or other VERY visible ID on the person. Have the Name, your cell number and any other important info on the band so if the person does wander they will be easily found. Sounds terrible but there are collars you can buy for dogs that will link to your cell phone so you can track the dog. This could easily be placed on the ankle or attached to a belt.
In the state of Illinois there is a program called Spot the Dot. A information card is place in the glove compartment and you fill out name and medical information so fin an accident first responders can get info right away. There is a yellow dot that is placed on the back window alerting first responders that there may be someone that has medical issues. This can be used for adults as well as a child. There is also a place on the card for a photo. Great program you can check to see if your state has one like it.
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Personally, I wouldn't travel with a Dementia patient. They don't do well, as they have said, out of their comfort zone. Then there r rest stops where you may need to clean up or even change clothes. We have a family wedding in Oct at that time I will put Mom in respite care. Sounds selfish but after 2yrs of caring for Mom in my home, I need to get away and be able to enjoy myself.
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Any amount of Nemenda (now in liquid form) or her blood pressure pill would put my mother to sleep. If you are traveling by train, best to get a sleeper car. That way you can change her in private and she is more comfortable laying down. There is a great "take your car" train from Florida to Virginia with sleeper cars. But flying would be faster.
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My FIL gave MIL antidiarrheal medication and she ended up in the ICU. They were traveling and she had loose stools and he thought they would just plug her up long enough to get home. Two months later, she finally made it home, but nearly didn't.
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Ask the doctor. Just do not give what you may think is good or works for others. Medications she is taking may have adverse reactions. A Pharmacist can help as well.
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All the above may make sense, but also PAY ATTENTION to her VITALS as they WILL CHANGE(lower or higher)since she will.be taken.out of her comfory zone and familiar/ safe enviroment. Experienced it first hsnd with my mother in law on a cruise(only 3 days). From the
first day of the trip, till 7-10 days after, ALL VITALS HAVE ELAVETED
(all med's same as before !!!). Good luck, and good trip.
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While I believe in some homeopathic med. I would be very careful of giving it to anyone who is on western mess as some interact with them. Best check with dr first.
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Homeopathic sleep remedies are great. Calms Forte is the one I use the most. It can be used as a sleep aide or just to calm down. Best to chew them.
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I would try melatonin first
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Marijuana cookie (or other edible).
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A small glass of dry red wine at bedtime. Just one.
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