Packing for a trip can be a challenge for anyone – add dementia to that challenge and it can be a very stressful experience. Packing takes thought, coordination and memory – all of which I struggle with.
In order to avoid getting to my destination with 27 pair of socks and no underwear, it is essential to prepare early and organize every outfit. The alternative is to leave all the packing to Roy. In which case, I would find white shorts and pants with hot pink undergarments – not a good option.
My routine includes these steps:
- Always wear an outfit once before going on a trip – even if just around the house. This helps coordinate everything that needs to go with it.
- Take a picture of the outfit and list all the items needed on the photo. I usually use a post-it note so I can make quick changes if needed.
- Keep a trip folder (mine is in my computer and I print them out, but it could be a paper folder). Include:
- The labeled pictures
- A list of all “Essential Items” other than clothing that will be needed for a trip (deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.).
- A list of “May Need Items”
- Beach: Water Shoes, Beach Towels, Sun Glasses, Sun Lotion, etc.
- Adventures: gloves for zip lining, boots for horseback riding, photos for visiting Mom, money pouch, evening purse, etc.
- A list of all medications
- Start preparing for the trip a week in advance. From the folder:
- Select which outfits to wear one day at a time and check each item on the list to make sure it is ready to go (clean, pressed, etc.)
- Check each of the “Essential Items” to make sure there is a sufficient supply
- Check the “May Need Items” and make sure they are ready to go
- Two days before Trip
- Layout each item from the photos – checking off the items as they are laid out
- Layout each item from the “Essential” and “May Need” List – checking them off. Highlight any items that need to be added the day of departure.
- The day before, have Roy pack my suitcase verifying that I have everything on the photos or lists. He packs a suitcase much better than me anyway!
- The day of departure, pack any items highlighted on the list. Pack the lists and the photos in the suitcase.
- Use the photos and lists when returning to make sure nothing is left behind.
Knowing that I am prepared and have everything needed helps reduce the travel tension and safeguards that I won’t be embarrassed to show off our pictures (well most of them)! Now it’s time to go have fun – for as long as we can.
Love & Laughter,
Written By Laurie Scherrer
Thanks for sharing your trip preparation process. I am leaving on Tuesday for Alabama Gulf Shore Beaches. I also have come to make very detailed plans and lists when I travel. Not only do I have lists of all the documents I need to fly etc., I even have lists of where the documents are in the pockets so they can be retrieved quickly. This time I have taken things one step further and asked for wheelchair accommodations at the airports. I have back problems and a short connection time, but I am mostly happy about not having to figure out which gate I’m looking for and how to get to the right terminal. I started thinking that this could be very helpful to other travelers with dementia. You just have to ask for the help. You see I usually travel alone. It’s truly amazing how we learn to accommodate for these difficulties!
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Hope you have a great trip! I agree with you – it is amazing how we find ways to cope with so many of the changes. I have learned so much on being prepared from you and others in our group.
This is such a fantastic posting. Thank you VERY much ! ❤
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