The benefits of a holiday for dementia patients
We all love a holiday. It allows us to wind down, explore different cultures and recharge our batteries. However, holidays are highly beneficial for individuals living with dementia as it positively impacts their well-being, giving them confidence and uplifting their mood.
At Helping Hands, we understand how much a holiday can benefit individuals living with dementia, so we thought we would share some of these…
Our mental upkeep is essential to our lives and going on holiday positively impacts those living with dementia. Exploring different foods and cultures can help with stimulation and contribute to an individual’s confidence.
Connect with family and friends
Going on holiday doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go abroad; you can take your loved one to spend a weekend at a family member’s or friend’s house. Spending time with loved ones automatically makes you feel safe and secure, but more importantly, it provides the comfort needed for individuals with dementia.
While on holiday, people can get involved in plenty of activities. From keep-fit and aqua classes at the hotel to nature walks and exploring cuisines, all contribute to an individual’s well-being. This will also help stimulate the mind as well boost their independence.
Spending time with loved ones on holiday is the best way to make memories. Take lots of pictures and get your loved one to write a diary, as they can always relive their experiences by looking at photographs and reading through their diary. As dementia affects memory, this will be a great way for them to reminisce about their holiday.
Factors you need to consider before going away
It can be overwhelming when planning a holiday for a loved one living with dementia and there are a few factors to consider before you go away. Here are a few things that can help you with the planning…
If your loved one enjoys nature, take them to a cottage in the countryside. This way, you can accompany them on walks and explore the outdoors. Or perhaps they’d like to visit a place they have been before, as we understand that being in a familiar environment can help manage dementia symptoms.
Length of stay
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, shorter trips may be more suitable as “if they have memory problems or find it hard to concentrate, longer trips can be tiring and harder to appreciate.” You can even consider day trips. This can be ideal for those who prefer to sleep in the comfort of their own home.
Ensure that there are plenty of activities, especially the ones your loved one enjoys. So, whether your loved one is a nature enthusiast, loves listening to music or trying different cuisines, look for a holiday break that offers these.
We all know nothing comes for free. You have to consider whether your loved one is paying for the holiday or if you are contributing financially. You may be eligible for funding or a grant. You can visit Turn2us and Disability Grants to see if you qualify.
Some travel agents may also offer discounted rates for people over a certain age, which also helps lessen the financial burden.
Make time for yourself
Taking a loved one on holiday can be overwhelming, so see if another family member or friend can join you. This way, you can both take turns looking after your loved one. We understand your loved one’s well-being is your main priority, but make time for yourself on holiday. Book a massage or go for a swim; this way, you can make the most of the holiday too.
Think about their needs
Depending on how dementia affects your loved one, it is essential to consider their needs. It can be daunting for your loved one and you. On the one hand, it may be overwhelming for your loved one to visit a place they aren’t familiar with. However, it can also be the best thing for them as it can positively impact their well-being.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about your loved one’s needs:
- Plan enough time when travelling – ensure you have passports, boarding passes and tickets ready. If you are travelling by aeroplane, take into account the time it will take to check in, go through security and board the plane. Ensure your loved one feels calm and comfortable and doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the process.
- Location – How has your loved one reacted to new surroundings? Going to a new environment can be daunting, so you will need to factor this in.
- Transport – When travelling, you must factor in what type of transport you’ll use. Will you be hiring a car or taking the train? Will your loved one be comfortable on long journeys? If not, you may want to consider travelling closer.
- Accommodation – Does the accommodation have proper facilities to assist your loved one? Ensure it has all you need so your loved one can have a comfortable stay.
- Previous holidays – How has your loved one coped with previous holidays? Did they enjoy them? Were there any activities they didn’t like? Learning from previous experiences can help you plan your holiday. So making a list of things they like and dislike can help.
Ensure you involve the person in the planning
When planning to take your loved one away, it is essential to keep them involved. Ask them what places they would like to visit and what they would like to do. Make a list and try and do as much as you can. Make sure you see if their suggestions are suitable and take it from there. Involving your loved one will also boost their confidence and independence, giving them a sense of control.
You can also seek advice from a healthcare professional, such as your loved one’s GP, an Admiral Nurse or social worker. Receiving advice from a healthcare professional is valuable and will give you the reassurance you need.
How Helping Hands can help with dementia care
At Helping Hands, we provide dedicated and compassionate dementia care for your loved one, so they can live an independent lifestyle. Our carers are trained to look after our customers, so they can continue living life on their terms. Our carers can also accompany your loved one on holidays to ensure they have the best time. We will support them with getting dressed, taking them around to visit places and ensuring they make the most of their experience.
We offer dementia care at home on a visiting care and live-in care basis. So, if you’d like our carers to visit once a week or stay with your loved one for 24 hours a day, you can count on us to be there every step of the way.
For added reassurance, we are also a member of the Dementia Action Alliance, which means our carers are trained to support your loved one with their lifestyle. Furthermore, our services are regularly monitored by the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales. So, you can have complete confidence knowing your loved one will receive a compassionate, kind and caring service.
Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on July 10, 2023