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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Travelling with Mild Cognitive Impairment


As many readers know Mummy was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment when she was 22 so over the last 15 “ish” years Mummy has found ways to cope and continue enjoying all life’s wonderful moments.

Blogger Babies, Mummy and Daddy love to travel, we live to embrace other cultures, beliefs and way of life.  With Mummy’s MCI travelling can be quite demanding, more than it would for other seasoned travellers this is because all new experiences demand more of us cognitively and involves doing a nonroutine activity.

Often travelling makes Mummy feel rushed and out of control which takes more out of her than normal daily tasks.  Mummy thrives day2day as she has a familiar routine, this means less confusion and consistency but when travelling this all changes it causes distress that may result in unusual symptoms and causes anxiety.

As a family, we have almost got travelling together down to simple moments, which reduces anxiety and confusion

1.     We allow ourselves extra time, the benefit of this is that it cushions the feelings of being rushed and out of control
2.     Daddy takes control, Mummy gets to do all the fun things like packing and making lists but at the airport it’s Daddy who is in charge.
3.     About two weeks before travelling we sit together and plan our personal itinerary and Mummy puts it all together in a lovely timetable with pictures, especially if she needs to remember where she’s staying.
4.     We print copies of our travel itineraries and parking instructions
5.     Daddy resets all the clocks and alarms to make sure Mummy doesn’t get confused about time differences. This doesn’t always work because of the normal routine Mummy follows but it does help.
6.     We also book Airport assistance, as this means that Mummy has extra support through the airport, and a week before we travel we contact the airport directly to explain exactly what Mummy needs.
7.     Mummy has a travel wallet which contains details on where we are staying and who to contact.
8.     We avoid long haul flights that require connections and tend to visit places Mummy went to prior to MCI this keeps travelling familiar and carries memories Mummy can relate to.

But most importantly 9. We travel during the time of day that is best for Mummy.

Just because Mummy has MCI, doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy life to.  Mummy believes in living life to the fullest and we like that.  When Mummy doesn’t like the changes, or gets confused Daddy calls them Mummy Adventures and we get to explore and experience everything from a new perspective.

Travelling with someone who has MCI, Dementia or Alzheimer’s can be challenging but with proper pre-planning and preparedness it can still be fun, safe and enjoyable.  We hope you found our family’s way of traveling useful and that you too can find what works for you.

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