Billy the Cat considers a dementia friendly holiday

Me sulking
Me sulking

Wendy left the iPad lying around again, so I thought I’d grab the opportunity to put paw to keyboard as I’m not happy.

They’re sending me to the cattery again…..they think I don’t know…..but I’ve seen the signs….
The first was Stuart squeezing himself into the salopettes and then the next few days/weeks spending all day on the bike. I’d never book a holiday straight after Christmas – although come to think of it, I’d never book a holiday..They should take a mouse leaf out of my book and simply have a constant supply of biscuits on the go – no more, no less. He now he looks ‘svelte, sleek, streamline and ready for the slopes’ (I’m sure those were the words he used)………

Gemma’s perfectly formed so no need for drastic exercise action ( what do you mean, ‘creep!” I have to keep in one of their good books!) but for ages now, all she’s done is monitor the snow forecast in some far off place instead of concentrating on me. Worse of all, I’ve seen the horrible house cum cage thingy they squeeze me into to get me to said cattery.

It got me thinking. I hate being away from home, as well they know, so I wonder what we need to do for Wendy? I think she’d go on holiday without a struggle so no need for horrible cage thingy. However I do think she’d need familiar things around her. I’d like my empty cardboard box with me – I’d let Wendy borrow it if she really wanted to. What? Why wouldn’t she want to borrow my empty cardboard box??!!!
A holiday can be enjoyable for anyone (so I’m told!). With careful planning there’s no reason why it can’t be just as enjoyable for those living with dementia. The main things to consider appear to be:

Be realistic on the amount of time to spend away. Wendy loves weekends away – any more and I miss she misses me too much.

If travelling with a carer to family or friends, discuss how best they can help before you go. People are often more than willing to help if they know beforehand. It’s also an opportunity for the carer to get a break and helping hand – never forget the carer.

Some people living with dementia can find it difficult to cope in new surroundings – involve them from the start. The experience can be very different according to the stage of dementia. Wendy would like lots of printed maps – visual and in words and not to be rushed.
Make sure they carry the name and address of where you’re staying at all times.

If staying in a hotel, a small friendly hotel is often better than a large one with lots of confusing floors and corridors. Be honest with them if you’re at all worried. If they’re worth visiting they’ll be more than accommodating and understanding, if they’re not, steer clear.

Each individual is different but crowded places are usually best left to the crowds.

Make the person feel safe and secure.

The earlier you start preparing for the holiday, the less stressful it will be.

Make sure you have ordered enough medication to last the holiday.

If going abroad – check the insurance covers any accident or illness linked to dementia

Wendy likes walking alone on the fells in the Lake District – she may now need to take compass, maps, GPS equipment, tent, flare gun and survival kit in case she gets lost or if all else fails, just tie a long piece of string round her wrist to haul her back in – ha!

Plan, plan, plan – don’t leave anything until the last minute. Be organised and enjoy.
I mentioned at the beginning that Wendy might like familiar things around her – maybe she could take me! Mental note to self to make oneself indispensable for cuddles……..
The Alzheimer’s society have a great fact sheet on the subject that goes into far more detail:

Travelling_and_going_on_holiday_factsheet

After all I’m just a cat – a very unhappy cat who’s being abandoned for the week. I can dream though…….

Me and my friend Bruce
Me and my friend Bruce

p.s. I’ll send you a postcard next week from my hotel prison cell

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

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