A Guide to Dementia Friendly Holidays
Just because a person suffers from dementia, it doesn’t rule out the potential for a holiday. Trips abroad, weekends away and even days out offer the opportunity for a change of scenery and a break from the daily routine. However, we know that it is not always easy to organise a holiday that will consider the needs of the person, so here are some points to consider when booking your next trip.
Discuss the Dementia Holiday with the Person
What do they want to do? Perhaps there are places from the past that they used to enjoy visiting and which may trigger memories of past holidays. What do they feel comfortable with? Someone who has enjoyed boating or sailing trips in the past may enjoy the feeling of being on a boat, whilst for others this might be perceived as a stressful location. Keep the person’s likes and wishes in mind, but don’t neglect your own desires in the process. This is a holiday for all of you to enjoy, so take your time when choosing a suitable place. Spend time talking about the holiday and your plans well in advance in order to prepare the person for their outing.
Consider the Distance
How long does the person feel comfortable travelling for? Some dementia sufferers feel disoriented and upset if they have to travel too far, so take this into consideration when planning your holiday. Which is the most appropriate form of transport? For some dementia sufferers a car journey will be the most suitable option, but others might prefer a train journey, for example. Think carefully about potential problems that you might encounter whilst travelling, and choose the most stress-free option for all of you. Don’t forget to make your travel plans well in advance in order to avoid hefty charges for last-minute bookings.
Make sure you have all your requirements down on paper, ready to tell the travel agent and accommodation provider before you commit to anything. Be clear about anticipated problems, and if necessary ask the person’s doctor or healthcare provider to provide a written statement, as this can be helpful in ensuring that you receive adequate support.
If the person needs extra care, you can always get a co-carer to join you on your trip. You are likely to find that you need additional assistance when travelling away from home, so make sure there is someone to help you. You need to enjoy yourself too, and there may be times when you would like to spend a little time alone or follow your own agenda for a short time.
Find out as much information as you can about the place you are going, where you are staying and so forth. The more you can find out in advance, the better you will be able to plan and the smoother the trip will be.