Are you worried about going on holiday with someone who has dementia? Holidays can be stressful at the best of times so your fears are understandable. However, if you follow the tips below you might find ways to manage the stress. You might even enjoy yourself!
4 Golden Rules
While you’re planning and preparing for your trip it’s very important to:
1. Be realistic – your loved one may have enjoyed month-long holidays in far flung locations before, but perhaps something short and simple and nearer home would be more suitable now?
2. Be honest – don’t try to hide their condition when you’re booking a holiday. Instead, explain the diagnosis and what it might involve to anyone who may need to know, including hotels and tour operators.
3. Be organised – you will be responsible for everything from travel documents and medication to sun cream and spending money.
4. Take someone with you – if at all possible consider inviting another person along to help, otherwise you might not get much of a holiday yourself!
Where will you stay?
Friend or family
Many people find this is a good choice. The person with dementia can spend time with people they may not see very often, while also staying in an environment which is comfortable and welcoming. You can often hand over responsibility to others (at least for a few hours each day) and take some well-deserved me-time.
A familiar holiday resort
If the person you care about is in the earlier stages of dementia, choosing a holiday destination they’ve been to before could be very successful and bring back many happy memories. You could even opt for a package deal so that accommodation, travel and meals are sorted out before you leave.
A DIY mini break
Organising your own break could give you more choice and flexibility (and be a bit cheaper too). Use the knowledge you already have about dementia and how it affects the person you care about to pick a location you’ll both like and accommodation which is affordable and realistic.
Your holiday checklist
Don’t leave home without
Insurance – pre-existing medical conditions, such as dementia, aren’t normally covered in standard travel insurance so you may need to take out specialist insurance in case your loved one has an accident relating to their dementia. Take the insurance documents with you on holiday in case you need to make a claim (and always take your European Health Insurance Card).
Medication and a doctor’s letter – this can explain the dementia diagnosis and include any information about medication or treatments that may become necessary if your loved one becomes ill.
Identification – making sure the person with dementia always has identification on them in case they become separated from you. You could also consider using a tracking device. There are lots to choose from so find one to suit your needs by going here.
3 Great Tips
The chances of losing something tends to increase when you’re with a person who has memory problems, so take extra care by
1. Making two lists of everything you’ve put in the suitcase and leave a duplicate list with someone else in case the one you’re carrying goes missing.
2. If you’re taking passports, make two copies of the personal details page of each passport, take one copy with you (but keep it separate to the passports) and leave the other with someone at home.
3. Take your sense of humour! If you can both laugh together you’re far more likely to have a happy holiday.