Going on holiday: tips and advice for people affected by dementia

We offer useful tips and advice on organising holidays and travelling with people affected by dementia.

For someone with dementia, going on holiday or travelling to a new environment can be difficult and confusing. Travelling companions may also find it hard to relax while providing support to a friend or loved one.

With some careful planning, you can make sure everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable break.

Holidays and dementia

What type of holiday are you taking?

Try to find out as much as you can beforehand about where you are going. Are there interesting places to see, activities you can enjoy and places to relax? If anyone travelling has a physical disability, will it be easy for you to get around?

Depending on the type of trip you are taking there are various ways to prepare and things to consider.

Staying with friends or family

Talk openly to friends and family about the situation and discuss how each person might be able to help out. For example, a family member or friend might be able to spend the afternoon with the person with dementia - giving the person and their usual carer a break from each other.

Travelling independently

Speak to the hotel or B&B before you book to check that it is the right place for you. Try to look for places that offer a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and where staff will be understanding and supportive if you have any difficulties.

A smaller hotel without too many corridors may be less confusing for the person with dementia. It may be a good idea to book 'out of season', as places are likely to be less busy and staff will able to give you more time and attention.

Package holidays

You may want to go on a package holiday where everything is arranged for you. If you choose this option, talk to the travel agency and holiday company before you book. Make sure that they are aware of your needs, and that these needs can be met.

Specialist holidays

There are a range of holiday and travel services available for people who need extra support. A person with dementia may be accompanied by a friend, relative or carer on one of these trips. Alternatively, you may choose to use respite services that allow the person with dementia and their carer to take a break from each other. If a carer feels they need to take a break on their own, the person with dementia could go on holiday separately. This could be arranged through a company offering specialist support. Find out more about respite care on our website.

Preparing for your holiday

The earlier you start preparing for your holiday, the less stressful it will be. You should allow plenty of time to organise things like passports, insurance and medicines.

Luggage

Make sure all luggage is clearly labelled with your name and address. Also, put a sheet of paper with your name and address on it inside each separate bag or suitcase, in case luggage labels are removed or lost.

Passports and identification

Make two photocopies of the personal details page of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a relative or a friend and carry the other copy with you. Also make copies of your other important documents, such as plane tickets and insurance documents. Write down the phone numbers of places to call if documents or bank cards get lost or stolen.

A MedicAlert bracelet or similar identification may be useful for a person with dementia in case they become separated from the person they are travelling with, become confused or experience communication problems.

Medicine

Medication must be kept with you at all times. If you are likely to be separated from your luggage during your journey, keep medication in your hand luggage or carry-on bag, together with a list of the medicines and dosage routines. Take a letter from your doctor to show to airline staff. If any medication needs to be kept refrigerated, tell the airline in advance and make sure you will have access to a fridge where you are staying.

Travel insurance

Before you travel, you should make sure you are insured against any problems that may arise, such as sickness or lost items. Your travel insurance policy will need to cover all passengers for any medical conditions that they have. You might also consider making sure you are covered for travel delay.

There are many benefits to going holiday, such as having new experiences and giving the person with dementia and those close to them a break from routine. Your best option is to choose a holiday that is right for everyone, and plan it well so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Further information

You can find more information, including financial advice and links to useful organisations on the Holidays and travelling section of our website. You can also contact our National Dementia Helpline if you would like support from one of our advisers.

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7 comments

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My mother is going to stay at my sister's house for a couple weeks to a month out of state what are the things we should be worried about or avoid and how long should that stay be? Will this make her in a worse state of mind?

This is helpful
0

Hi John,

Thanks for your comment.

Unfortunately, It's a difficult to answer your question without know a bit more about your situation.

If you'd like to talk to one of a trained dementia advisers, you can call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456. One of the team will be able to provide you with some information, advice and support.

It's also worth noting that we're a UK-based charity. I'm not exactly sure where you're based, but if it's the US then the Alzheimer's Association would be best placed to provide localised advice: https://www.alz.org/

Hope this is helpful, John.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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0

My husband is in a care home always liked taking him out and would like to take him on holiday , it has got more difficult now as he needs more help any ideas where we could go I will be able to do most things myself which I help to look after him in the home but i would still need help any are there any charitys that help as we are not very well off thanks Shirley Garbett

This is helpful
13

Hi Shirley,
Thanks for getting in touch.
As well as this article, we have some more information on our website about holidays that you might find helpful: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/staying-independent/holidays-…
There's also a section about financial assistance on this page which could be worth looking into: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/staying-independent/holidays-…
If you'd prefer to speak to somebody, please remember you can call our helpline 7 days a week for information, advice and emotional support: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/national-dementia-helpline
Hope this is helpful,
--
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
11

We live in Bournemouth sing in a choir who do a charity concert we put forward the dementia care .at the moment dementia is one of the charities Infront .But we need a person to come do a few minutes talk on dementia if it's one of the chosen ones. Could you please sort this for us please.thank you. Peggy moles.phone number 07760366665.

This is helpful
8

Hi Peggy, thanks for getting in touch. The choir concert sounds great! Our Customer Care team should be able to help - you can contact them on 0330 333 0804. Thanks again and best of luck with the concert.

This is helpful
10

We live in Bournemouth sing in a choir who do a charity concert we put forward the dementia care .at the moment dementia is one of the charities Infront .But we need a person to come do a few minutes talk on dementia if it's one of the chosen ones. Could you please sort this for us please.thank you. Peggy moles.phone number 07760366665.

This is helpful
7
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