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Alzheimer's disease health centre

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Alzheimer’s disease FAQs

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Are there any medications that someone with Alzheimer’s disease should avoid?

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may be taking medication to treat symptoms of the disease, as well as to treat other health problems. However, when a person takes many medications there is an increased risk of having an adverse reaction, including confusion, agitation, sleepiness or sleeplessness, mood swings, memory problems and/or stomach upset, hallucinations or aggressive behaviour.

Talk to the doctor about any side effects as they may be able to recommend alternatives.

Always check with a pharmacist or doctor before taking a new over-the-counter medication in case of interactions.

2. I’m thinking about making a journey with my father, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Is there anything special I should do?

The most important things to do when travelling with someone with Alzheimer’s disease are to plan ahead and try to anticipate the person’s needs, so you’ll be ready for any changes or problems. As you plan, be sure to consider the stage of the person’s illness and any behaviours that may be affected by travelling away from home. You may want to try making a short journey first to see how your loved one reacts to travelling. Here are a few other tips to consider:

  • Plan some activities for the person with Alzheimer’s disease to do when travelling. Simple things - such as reading a magazine, playing with a deck of cards or listening to music - can help keep your loved one calm when travelling.
  • Never leave a person with dementia alone in a car. When moving, be sure to keep the seat belt fastened and the doors locked.
  • Plan regular rest stops.
  • Bring an extra driver if your trip involves more than six hours of driving time.
  • If the person becomes agitated while travelling in a car, stop at the first available place. Don’t try to calm the person while driving.
  • Consider planning your holiday at a place that is familiar to the person with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, at a country cottage that he or she has visited in the past.
  • If your loved one is easily agitated, it may be wise to avoid places that are very crowded. You may also want to avoid fast-paced sightseeing trips.
  • If your loved one has never been on a plane, it may be wise to consider driving, if possible.
  • Alert the airlines and hotel staff that you are travelling with a person who is memory impaired and make sure the person is carrying or wearing some sort of identification.
  • Don’t forget that your caregiving responsibilities continue even though you are on holiday. It may help to bring someone along who can help you with this.
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