Travelling with dementia

05 July 2023

Travelling is never particularly easy, what with the preparation that goes into managing the risks and ensuring that everybody in your travel party is safe at all times. However, this becomes even more of a challenge when travelling when you live with dementia, or with someone who has dementia in your travel group.

Approximately 900,000 people live with dementia in the UK, with that number set to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. People living with dementia and their families need support to live well and remain active and involved.

How People Living with Dementia Can Travel with Confidence

Embarking on a journey is never without its challenges, from meticulous preparations to ensuring the safety of everyone in your travel party. However, for individuals with dementia or those accompanying someone with dementia, the task becomes even more daunting. Yet, with the right precautions and mindset, travel can still be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Let us explore the possibilities and shed light on the positive aspects of travel for these individuals.

This is not a 'one size fits all’ situation, making it crucial to assess travel risks based on the individual rather than the condition as a whole. Factors such as symptom progression and the likelihood of experiencing outbursts or getting disoriented in unfamiliar environments should be considered. By tailoring travel plans to suit the needs and capabilities of the individual, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

Transparency and communication play pivotal roles in ensuring a safe and understanding travel environment. Informing airlines and hotels about the condition of the individual with dementia helps create a supportive atmosphere during the journey. Furthermore, obtaining appropriate travel insurance is essential. However, the most crucial step is ensuring that the person living with dementia has all the necessary medical information in case of an emergency - through a medical ID bracelet.

Challenges may arise when travelling with dementia, stemming from the unpredictable nature of symptoms. The gradual decline in mental independence and capacity can make even everyday life challenging, let alone the prospect of travel. To tackle this, careful planning becomes imperative. Sharing the full itinerary, location details, and emergency contact information with the entire travel party helps create a sense of familiarity and preparedness.

Preparation steps to take when travelling with dementia

When travelling with dementia, it is vital that the individual is never alone. This ensures their safety and prevents symptoms from worsening due to unfamiliar surroundings. Ensuring the person has a MedicAlert membership and providing them with a medical ID bracelet becomes an essential step. This communicates vital medical information without delay and includes details of emergency contacts, enabling a swift reunion with the travel group in case of confusion or getting lost.

Additionally, we recommend that the individual and a key member of the travel group complete a Safe and Found Herbert Protocol. This form, introduced by the Police in 2021, facilitates effective communication of crucial information when searching for missing and at-risk individuals. By completing this form, you enable the police to access key information as soon as a missing person report is filed, saving valuable time and enabling prompt action. Whilst the Herbert Protocol was designed by UK forces, this initiative remains a valuable resource for individuals with dementia and their families, both at home and when planning travel. Storing this online with MedicAlert removes the need to carry paperwork wherever you go.

apply for one year free medicalert membership

MedicAlert for dementia

MedicAlert for dementia offers a comprehensive system to ensure efficient and appropriate care during emergencies. The core benefits of MedicAlert, designed for individuals with various health concerns and chronic conditions, also apply to those living with dementia. By compiling vital medical history and key documents, and with access to a 24/7 helpline available in over 100 languages, MedicAlert ensures that medical needs can be communicated even when the individual cannot speak for themselves.

For a person living with dementia, whether within the UK or abroad, this information can make all the difference in receiving appropriate help and understanding of their actions and behaviour. A MedicAlert membership offers peace of mind to the individuals as well as their carers and families, guaranteeing access to the right treatment and care in the event of a medical emergency or if they were to be reported missing. With worldwide accessibility to critical information, MedicAlert makes travel not only possible but enjoyable for those living with dementia.

Embracing the freedom to explore and venture into new territories is a possibility for individuals living with dementia. With careful planning, open communication, and the support of resources like MedicAlert, travel can become an enriching experience, allowing them to create cherished memories with their loved ones.

To support those living with dementia, MedicAlert has partnered with The McLay Dementia Trust to offer the first year of membership for free. Available for a limited time only, this offer means that eligible applicants only need to purchase their choice of ID to be protected by MedicAlert, wherever they go.


To find out more about how MedicAlert membership can support you, click below


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