Tips about planning holidays when you have dementia

Advice about planning a vacation – from Dementia together magazine readers, Dementia Voice partners and Dementia Support Forum members.

Holiday planning involves many decisions – where to go, how long to stay, how to get there and what to do once you’re there. 

Dementia affects people in different ways, and we’re all very different anyway in our preferences and how we deal with things. 

Thinking ahead to each aspect of travelling, if there are things that would feel different now, what could help you to have a good holiday? 

Plans and ideas

Would visiting a favourite place take some pressure off, perhaps revisiting good memories too? 

If a new destination calls, is there somewhere suitable nearby you’d like to use as a base? Or perhaps you’d prefer a totally new experience? 

A shorter trip could be less tiring – physically and mentally. Day trips add variety without having to stay over somewhere unfamiliar. 

What would help you prepare – plenty of time to plan, ‘to do’ lists, tasks in a calendar? Could you go over plans with someone else, perhaps reviewing them later? 

There and back 

How will the journey feel – would you want more things with you to keep occupied and comfortable? 

Could you give yourself more time or travel off-peak, so you feel less rushed? 

For accommodation, a quieter room or location may give you a place to recharge between activities. 

Whether you’d previously visit every sight within miles or spend days on the same beach, what would you actually enjoy doing now? 

Your tips about going on holiday

Jennifer Bute says,

‘Have your destination and a phone contact written down to take with you. Also something that is familiar, like a bag, a favourite item of clothing or magazine. 

‘If travelling alone, make sure there are clear arrangements in advance about who and where someone is meeting you and how they will know who you are.’

Pete Middleton says,

‘Forward planning! I’m off on a week’s holiday in Wales next month. I’ll be driving myself. 

‘I have done some serious study about what to expect on the route, the accommodation and the itinerary, and now I'm confident that I can relax and enjoy the adventure.’

Wendy Weeden says,

‘We carried on going on cruises because that’s what we’d done for years. Roy was used to going on the ship, going for meals etc. 

‘It’s an easy holiday because you’re in one room for however long you’re there, and once you’ve unpacked everything is there. 

‘You can end up doing less than you would have done in the past, such as going on shore. But there’s lots to see and do on the ship, and the staff are very patient, very helpful. 

‘I’m going on my own on the next one, but we’ve had lovely cruises together up to now, with lots of memories.’

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I am finding life very difficult being a carer to my partner who was a nurse. she is 71 and i I have taken her licence and car away from her. I have to take her every where. I try and swim every day thats the only break i get. she changes every day, hides things and forgets where she has put them.
My husband and I all so go on cruise as it is a break for me being carer . Please check about going on cruise ship as some have change about disabled as they are tightening up
Yes that’s good
Despite the suggestions it really is “horses for courses”. We have visited around 30 countries in our 25 years together. Many memories obviously but what is the point if my lovely wife can’t a) find her way around our house, b) remember what she did 5 minutes ago and more to the point the total stress of getting her to the port/ airport or whatever. In our case I would not even consider a UK self catering break. You make it sound so easy. It ain’t.
Yes, travelling with a Dementia person is not what you are making it to be. Recently I travelled with my wife to Mauritius for 2 weeks with all the family and everyday and night she wanted to come back home, this put a real damper on the holiday. She was so confused and disorientated that to travel again with her it will not be possible. Alas, no holidays.
I agree with Bryn. My husband can’t even find the bathroom in our bungalow, it is even worse at night. I wouldn’t consider a holiday, it would only cause stress and problems.
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