Dementia describes a set of symptoms that includes memory loss, difficulty thinking and with language – and by 2025, it’s estimated to affect a million people in the UK.
Although getting away on holiday might be more difficult, the charity Dementia UK has outlined some simple steps to make travelling with people with dementia go more smoothly.
1. Check your insurance
Make sure you have medical insurance and take all of the documentation with you in case of a medical emergency.
If you’re holidaying in Europe, have an E111 card – a free European Health Insurance card.
Prior to going on holiday, do some research so you know where the local doctors’ surgeries and hospitals are located.
[Read more: 11 things you should really know about dementia]
2. In case of emergency
Ensure the person with dementia has ID and emergency contact details on them at all times.
If they get lost, it will be easier for someone to get in contact with you. Potentially, consider a personal GPS that the person with dementia can wear.
3. Get familiar with the hotel
Orientation is a challenge for someone living with dementia and being in an unfamiliar location could cause disorientation.
Give the person with dementia a plan of the building and also walk them around the building you are staying in when you first arrive.
Print out some signage that you can put up around your accommodation, like toilet/ bathroom, bedroom, kitchen etc.
4. Rise early
Plan your activities for in the morning as the person with dementia is likely to get tired as the day progresses and tiredness can cause disorientation.
Also, don’t plan too many activities as this can cause tiredness and exhaustion, leading to disorientation and potentially agitation.
5. Bring night lights
Portable low-level lights, that are easy to pack, will help during the night, should the person with dementia wake up and become disorientated by where they are staying.
You can also get apps on your phone which provide night light.
6. Look out for stress
Keep an eye on the person with dementia for signs of distress and anxiety. They may be feeling it but not telling you as they don’t want to ruin your holiday.
Do you have any experiences of holidaying with a loved one who has dementia? Tell us in the comments box below