Traveling With Dementia and Other Disabilities, Part 1

Leah Health Guide
  • Traveling can be a delightful affair when all goes well according to plan. Of course, it does have its trying times for even the most normal person-delayed meals, regular schedules are thrown out the window, minute details must be attended to, clothing must be packed according to weather conditions and locations... Notice the term I used before, "normal person". If traveling as or with a person with pre-existing medical conditions, all bets are off as far as having a "normal" time when on vacation. There's so much to attend to, depending upon the physical problems one has.


    Me? I have dementia and diabetes. Staying on a regular schedule of meals and exercise is imperative. All shots have to be administered on a timely fashion. All medication and its accompanying paraphanalia must be packed-some at the very last minute due to having to be kept cool. Just the logistics of getting everything packed that is needed is difficult.

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    How did I do this time, after having Vascular Dementia for four years? For this year's cruise, I only forgot to check one important thing-that I had enough test strips for my blood glucose level machine. On the first day out, I discovered a shortage of these. Upon checking, we will be able to get them-hopefully-at St. Thomas, which is four days away. I will be out of the strips for two days. It could be worse. I could have forgotten my insulin or other medications!


    Getting all the medications packed that one needs is one important step. The next important step is TAKING the medication as prescribed when one's "normal" routine is anything but! I must admit that I failed miserably so far on this trip! The first day, we jumped out of bed, finished packing the car and took off. I did not remember to take my shots when we stopped for breakfast along the way; nor did I remember my morning medications. Once aboard the ship, it was a whirlwind of eating, unpacking, eating again...until we passed out on the bed at 8:30 p.m. It was during the night that I really began to get sick. My legs ached like crazy. My skin all over felt like I was being walked on and/or bitten by bed bugs. Finally, at 2:30 in the morning, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized that I had night taken any shots NOR any medications that day! No wonder I was feeling so bad! Immediately, I took my nighttime medications and within an hour, my skin began to feel more normal and my legs hurt less. Sleep finally came.


    What did I do to remedy this problem? I pulled out my medical folder and took my early morning blood sugars. I gave myself the shots I needed to start my day. On the sheet, I put a place where I will indicate that I have taken my morning and evening medications. I decided to take my morning's meds the next day at noon and space the evening meds out to 10:00 p.m. I can begin a normal regiment the following day. I've asked my husband to check behind me, to see if I have taken my meds as prescribed.


  • Having dementia and diabetes is difficult when traveling. But so are so many other conditions! All one has to do is to be continually vigilant for times which are not normal, which throws off one's schedule. Almost anything is do-able, so I would never hesitate to travel if given the chance!

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Published On: December 07, 2010