Any suggestions for long road trip with Alzheimer's sufferer?

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Real Estate Agent with 406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) 10301213186

I am not good at road trips. After about three or four hours in the car, I get very antsy and start singing along with the radio in a very energetic way. That's how I get rid of some of the excess energy of sitting in the car, but quite frankly, by that point I'd rather get out and jog alongside the car or walk or do anything other than sit in the vehicle.  And trust me, no one wants to hear me loudly sing the entire song "Bohemian Rhapsody" from end to end.  

 

Anyway, in a few weeks, I need to take a seven or eight hour ride down to southern Virginia to attend a family event, and then the same trip in reverse.  While that is challenging in itself, this ride will be particular challenging because we're going to be traveling with a family member who has Alzheimer's. She is at the stage where she is forgetting anything new that is told to her, and often asks the same question over and over. She also gets a bit confused about where we all live and things like that.  Needless to say, she will be very confused as we are going to a place she has only been to once.

 

With that in mind, I am trying to come up with things that might help make the trip better for everyone. I was thinking that I could make some sort of a card that has the name/address of the person we're visiting, the reason why and perhaps something that includes a map of how we are going to get there. So anytime she gets confused about where we're going or why, she can refer to the information in her hand. I really don't have too many other ideas so I'm just throwing this out in the "cloud."  Perhaps there are some good ideas out there from those of you who may have dealt with this type of road trip in the past.

 

Any suggestions?  Help would be welcome!

Posted by

 

Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Associate Broker, CBR®

Grand Lux Realty, Inc.

428 Main Street

Armonk, NY 10504 *

* still supporting Monroe NY, Orange & Rockland counties.

 

914-419-0270 (cell)

email: kat@thehousekat.com

www.thehousekat.com

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Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Michele - Thank you for your comment - unfortunately, SHE still gets stressed out about forgetting things; I hope she just enjoys also which is part of the reason I'm trying to come up with a few coping activities.

Raymond - Yes, patience is definitely going to be needed; unfortunately, it's not in huge supply and I do think this trip will require lots of planning!

Nov 29, 2014 10:12 PM #9
Rainmaker
335,661
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience

Kat,  My grandmother is suffering from this disease as well.  If I were going on a road trip with her (I can't imagine!) I would:

1.  Check with the caregivers to find out what her "best" time of day is.  Many patients become more agitated in the late afternoon and evening hours.  

2. If she still watches TV, you could have some movies or shows set up on your iPad.

3.  Does she have any "busy" habits?  Like counting or folding...My grandmother likes to have change to arrange over and over on a tray, or she folds a hankie over and over (or a whole box of tissues).

4.  For you, it's not necessary to reply to all the questions and ramblings.  I know it's difficult but it really makes no difference usually.  Sort of like traveling with a child who constantly says "What's that?" eventually you stop answering the question.

Nov 29, 2014 10:37 PM #10
Rainmaker
4,085,938
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, sure sounds like this trip will be a challenge, and some conversations may be repeated?     I wish you lots of luck. 

Nov 30, 2014 01:59 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,240,397
Michele Cadogan-Cell 917-861-9166
Fillmore Real Estate 2990 Av U, Bklyn , NY 11229 - Brooklyn, NY
Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker -

In addition to old family photos  may I also suggest that to take along music or soundtracks of shows from the era that the person grew up in .  

Nov 30, 2014 03:44 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Jenna - Oh my gosh, thank you. I bet putting some of her favorite shows on the iPad would be GREAT!  And I could bring earplugs so she could listen at her needed volume (loud!).  I can't not answer her repetitive questions, but I understand what you're saying. 

Joan - Thank you!!

Michele - Thank you!  I'm getting great ideas here.

Nov 30, 2014 03:53 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,278,977
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Hi Kat. My grandmother had Alzheimer's. (She passed many years ago.) We also volunteer for the Alzheimer's Association. I find that many they may not remember new things, but they do remember old things. My grandmother liked to tell us stories about the early part of her marriage to my grandfather. I would encourage you to make your family member comfortable and allow him/her tell a story from the past. You can ask questions, he/she will likely remember ALL the details!

Nov 30, 2014 04:54 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Donna - Thank you.  That's a great idea as well.  She forgets some things from the past, but I'll bet she would love to share what she does remember.

Nov 30, 2014 05:21 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,543,725
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Kat: You must have the patience that only enduring love can create. I wish you all the luck and safety that open and snow-cleared roads can afford you.

Nov 30, 2014 06:31 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Sandy/Norm - Thank you very much!

Nov 30, 2014 07:52 AM #17
Rainer
1,756,848
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Kat.  I have a dear friend who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year.  I am very interested in hearing the answers.  Thanks.  Good luck with the trip.

Nov 30, 2014 07:42 PM #18
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Conrad - There are some good suggestions here.  I'll have to come back after our trip and let everyone know what did or didn't work.

Nov 30, 2014 08:25 PM #19
Rainmaker
1,923,090
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Kat - I was going to say the same as Roger.  Old pictures and memories will be helpful.  If the person you are visiting is in any old pictures that would be great.

Nov 30, 2014 08:26 PM #20
Ambassador
1,343,781
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Kat, a couple of suggestions...one is to "re-direct" as an Alzheimer's person truly lives in the moment! So, take her attention somewhere else when she starts asking the same question over and over. Point out things...how's her eyesight? Have something physical, tactile to keep her hands occupied (what were things she loved to do?) and music definitely IS often therapy for them...it eases stress for Alzheimer's patients. 

Check out the book The 36-Hour Day, it's about being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's. It's been around for eons. The support group idea is perfect, thanks to Gabe! 

Also, call an assisted living community and see if you can have a conversation with the Activities Director--they usually have great ideas on how to keep their residents occupied. You will want to get her out of the car often, just like you! To walk around. Usually, they are in better shape physically than mentally. 

Please let me know if any of this helps. I used to work in assisted living, but it was many years ago...long term care for about 10 years--loved it. 

Dec 01, 2014 01:32 AM #21
Ambassador
1,343,781
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Kat, here is a link to my very favorite bookstore, where you can get this book used for CHEAP!

http://www.powells.com/s?kw=The+36+Hour+Day&class=

Dec 01, 2014 01:35 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Grant - Thank you!  I'm sure that will be helpful.

Gayle - Thank you so much for the insight.  Her eyesight is good but not her hearing so she won't have a problem looking at anything.  I will definitely check out that book.  Thanks so much.

Dec 01, 2014 02:30 AM #23
Ambassador
3,983,049
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

My mother-in-law had Alheimer's and would ask the same thing over and over. She will not remember the card is in her hand so I would take it in the and with detailed instructions like "Today we are driving to visit _XXX_ , your sister in Virginia. All the family is going to be there for the celebration." She will read it and still ask questions but it will help.

Dec 01, 2014 04:27 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Thank you Debbie!  I have a bunch of preparing to do!

Dec 01, 2014 08:37 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,679,137
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Kat - Thanks for following me - I will try to be "worthy" of your time.  I really enjoyed reading this post - there were some wonderful suggestions - Active Rain is an amazing community! 

Dec 01, 2014 08:23 PM #26
Rainmaker
3,205,322
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat how sad I am sorry to have to suffer, hope all turns out well, just be patient and do not loose your temper when you repeat your self....talk about old times they remember old memories it is just the recent stuff that does not stick..., Endre

Dec 02, 2014 12:54 PM #27
Rainmaker
1,438,025
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Lise- Thank you!  There are some great ideas here.

Endre - Patience is definitely going to be required.

Dec 02, 2014 06:59 PM #28
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