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Flying Alone with Alzheimer’s: What Are the Challenges?

Alzheimer’s Care in Madison FL

When Ted was invited to visit his youngest daughter and her family for the holidays, he was excited. He had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and while it was devastating, it wasn’t all that surprising to him. He had noticed problems with his memory for quite some time. He delayed going to his doctor out of fear of what he might hear.

Alzheimer's Care in Madison FL

Alzheimer’s Care in Madison FL

He lives alone, relies on a few friends and other family members to stop by every once in a while to help out, but he’s still managing to take care of himself for the most part. He doesn’t see any risk involved in flying and traveling alone.

Are there any risks?

Of course there are. There are risks for anyone who is heading out on a flight by themselves. However, younger, more experienced travelers will have far fewer risks and any risks that do happen to exist will be minimized by their physical and mental capacities.

A person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may be highly functional, but at any time they could struggle with their memory, especially if they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment or under a tremendous amount of stress.

Think about the last time you were stressed.

Take a moment to consider the last time you were under a tremendous amount of stress or anxiety. It might have been something related to work, finances, the loss of a loved one, or something else. How was your memory then?

Most people have a lot more difficulty with their memory when they are under a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. The same is going to be true for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Ted might find himself at the airport, moving through security, and then suddenly forget where he’s supposed to go. He might forget what gate or terminal his flight is supposed to go out of. He may think he left something important at home, like his passport or other personal information.

That slight loss of memory, that slight confusion, can cause anxiety. The anxiety can cause other problems to begin developing. What happens if he becomes agitated while in line at the security checkpoint?

He could be escorted to a room for questioning by TSA agents. They don’t know the situation. That can cause even more anxiety, more memory loss, and more challenges.

If a senior diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is adamant about flying alone, it’s a good idea to contact the airline, have him or her escorted from check in, through security, and then to their gate. Then, flight attendants or other airline personnel can keep an eye the senior, help redirect them if needed, and assist them getting on and off the airplane.

For somebody with Alzheimer’s flying alone is not highly recommended, but if a person is adamant and they are relatively high functioning, a little bit of forethought and planning can go a long way to keeping them safe and comfortable.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Alzheimer’s care in Madison, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.

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Brian Moran

Brian Moran, RN is both a Partner and Director of Marketing for Hopewell In-Home Senior Care. Brian has worked at the Bellevue Hospital in NYC, Tallahassee Community Hospital, Select Specialty Hospital and has over 12 years’ experience as a home health care nurse at American Home Patient. Since joining Hopewell In-Home Senior Care in 2008, Brian has used his knowledge of health care and local resources to help seniors in Tallahassee, FL navigate the medical resource maze. His goal is to assist seniors and their families by increasing awareness, affordability and quality of in-home caregiver services for those who wish to age in place.

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