This information comes to us from Dementia Guide, part of the National Social Services Board. These are some important considerations to help you plan and enjoy your holiday with a person with dementia.
Going on vacation together can provide shared experiences and a break from everyday life for both people with dementia and caregivers. To make the holiday a good experience, it is important to prepare thoroughly. The person with dementia may find new surroundings confusing or respond inappropriately. As a caregiver, you may use as much energy to ensure that the person with dementia will have a good journey, you do not even get anything out of the holiday. Therefore, it is important that you carefully consider what kind of holiday that is most suitable for you.
HOLIDAY WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS
You are not alone with the responsibility, if you travel with family or friends. If you plan this kind of holiday, it is a good idea to discuss how the other will / can help. Often, family and friends are very willing to help once they know what to do.
ALONE ON HOLIDAY WITH DEMENTIA
Do you want to vacation alone with a person with dementia, it may be a good idea to explore the resort’s interior, environment, etc. Is it possible for medical care? Are there activities you both enjoy, interesting places to see, and places where you can relax? You can consider booking holiday out of season when there is less busy and you might get better service.
The sooner you start preparing for the holidays, the easier it becomes to plan. Most airports, airlines, railways and travel agents can be helpful if you give adequate time, for example, you can ask for a wheelchair to be available at the airport.
It may take time to organize passports, travel insurance or special medical certificates. It may be a good idea to have made a “business card” for both the person with dementia and for yourself. The card must contain the name, address and telephone number, information on contacts during the trip and in Denmark, information about the resort’s name, address and phone number. Finally, the person with dementia’s card should also contain information about dementia itself and the typical features, for example, poor memory, confusion, difficulty in finding the way, language, etc. The card information should be in English or in the language spoken at the resort. The card should be kept on the person during the trip.
Cards can be requested at the Alzheimer’s Association.
If you have medication on the trip, it’s a good idea to make a list of the medication – preferably written in English or in the language spoken at the resort. Besides medication used, it may be a good idea to note if there are medications that the person with dementia cannot tolerate. I would also suggest writing any additional medical information, such as Do not resuscitate orders and the contact information for the Power of Attorney.
Various volunteer organizations organize holiday trips in Denmark, where there are special holiday guides available. Each holiday guide has knowledge of dementia and can therefore assist with various advice and support during the holidays. The holidays are planned and neither the person with dementia or you as relatives must think of something handy during the stay. This type of holiday also opens the opportunity to meet other people with dementia and their caregivers.
Several organizations arrange holidays for people with dementia and caregivers:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Dementia Coordinators in Denmark
- Cooperating Care Congregations
- Senior Colleges
- Some municipalities