july 1, 2024

Enjoying Beach Vacations with a Loved One Who is Living with Dementia

GoinG Down the Ocean

Older adult couple sitting on a blanket and looking out at the ocean

Marylanders know that summertime means goin’ down the ocean for some fun in the sun. For families caring for someone living with dementia, beach vacations can still be joyful and memorable experiences with a bit of planning and preparation.

Planning & Preparation Tips

  • Optimal Travel Routes: Choose the fastest and most direct travel route with minimal interruptions. If the journey is over four hours, plan breaks and travel during times that suit your loved one’s routine.
  • Maintain Routines: Routines provide stability for individuals living with dementia. Choose a beach destination that minimizes disruptions to their daily routine. Quieter, less crowded beaches and familiar locations can be particularly comforting.
  • Additional Caregiver: If possible, bring another caregiver. Having extra support helps keep your loved one safe and comfortable, allowing you to enjoy the vacation more fully.
  • Packing the Essentials: Ensure you pack all necessary medications, emergency contact numbers, a recent photo of your loved one, and important legal documents. These items are crucial for your loved one’s safety and well-being.
  • Day Trip Bag: When heading out to the beach, remember to bring along a recent photo, water, snacks, sunscreen, and engaging activities. Packable activity options might include crossword puzzles, word searches, memory books with pictures of past trips, playing cards, and headphones for listening to music.
  • Setting Up at the Beach: Choose a spot near a lifeguard stand when you are setting up your chairs and blanket and take a moment to introduce yourself and your loved one to the lifeguard on duty.
  • Identification: Make sure your loved one wears an ID bracelet with contact information in case they wander off. This provides peace of mind and ensures they can be safely reconnected if separated.
  • Sun Protection: Remind your loved to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Decreased cognitive ability may make them less aware of sun exposure risks.
  • Hydration: Help your loved one stay hydrated by encouraging them to drink water regularly, especially in hot weather. Dehydration can exacerbate confusion and agitation.
  • Informing Accommodation Staff: If staying at a hotel, notify the front desk about your loved one’s condition and any special needs. This helps ensure a supportive and understanding environment.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy. Embrace the moment and let minor inconveniences go. Focus on having fun and enjoying your special time down the ocean hon!

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Winter Growth’s founder dreamed of creating a community where seniors and adults with disabilities could continue to learn and grow – filling their lives with joy and purpose. For over 40 years, we have fulfilled her vision by providing unique, affordable Assisted Living/Memory Care and Adult Medical Day Care tailored to our clients’ individual abilities, interests, and lives.

Comments (2)

Barbara Bednarzik

So many tips for traveling with a person with memory loss. Great information for all to help make a vacation fun & a success!!
Thank you❤️

Great article with some very important reminders of how to have fun in the sun!! The ocean sounds can be very soothing. There are also wheelchair type devices with extra large wheels that make it easier for someone to maneuver the sand.

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