Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 6th of August 2019.
Holidays can be a refreshing and relaxing way to improve overall wellbeing, and the same is true for those living with dementia. It is however, important to consider that new places and experiences can be overwhelming for someone living with dementia, leading to potential increases in stress and confusion. It is therefore important when planning a trip with your loved one to make certain adjustments and plan ahead, so you can both get the most out of your trip together. Here we will cover just some of the ways to prepare for a holiday with someone living with dementia and the best ways to ensure they remain as relaxed as possible so you can spend some quality time together.
Choosing a Destination
For the majority of us, the most important part of planning a holiday is the destination; the same is true for when your travelling with someone living with dementia. A top tip when planning a trip such as this is to visit a familiar destination. In the earlier stages especially, those living with dementia can often remember experiences from a long time ago but may struggle to recall recent memories, therefore planning a holiday to a location which is somewhere they have been in the past will most likely be comforting for them and help to spark memories.
Travel in a Group
Whilst larger groups of people may be overwhelming for your loved one, it can be beneficial to travel in a group of perhaps 3 or 4 as this will help to ensure your loved one is not left alone at any point and you get chance to have some time to yourself. When travelling as a two, especially with someone with increased care needs, it can be challenging and stressful, which in turn may cause stress for your loved one. So it’s important to ask for help when you need it, and travelling in a group will ensure there are other people you know, on hand to assist.
Communication is key when travelling with someone living with dementia. You should be open and honest with them the whole time, reassuring them about what is happening and where they are going so that they don’t feel nervous or scared. As memory difficulties are common with someone with dementia, it may be necessary to continue to reassure your loved one throughout the journey and answer questions multiple times, it’s important to remain patient and calm during this process.
Communication with others is also key; with the airport, airline and hotel you’ll be staying in. If you let them know in advance you are travelling with a person living with dementia, they can help make arrangements to best support you on your trip.
Things such as your passport, tickets and insurance details are important to remember but it is also vital to consider that sometimes those living with dementia can be prone to wandering. This can be concerning, especially in a place that isn’t that familiar. Having your loved one wear an identification bracelet is a good way of ensuring their safety should they wander. You can include on it your contact details along with a note that they are living with dementia, this will prove invaluable should your loved one not be able to find their way back to you.
Holidays are for relaxing and enjoying yourself, so make sure to do this! Both you and your loved one deserve the time to sit back and relax and make the most of the holiday so don’t forget you need a break too, and make the most of making new memories with your loved one.