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Am I doing harm?

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
I posted a while ago that I had purchased a new (old) boat in Plymouth and planned to take Monique there to be with me whilst I take it back to where we live in France.

As I think Bruce or Norman warned it did have its moments - Monique had a major anger - screaming fit half way across Lyme Bay - did not want to see any UK friends or Relations whilst we were there- lots of pent up anger... and not so pent up! She reallly panics now if I am not around when she wakes up = or if I leave her alone for more than hour or so - even back in the house. She is most confused by waking not knowing if the dreams are reality or dreams.

I sort of get the impression she had a 'step down' during the travels along the UK coast. Very difficult to get her out of bed or to come out into the cockpit to see what's going on. Things got better when we got to Dieppe. A very nice english coupel came to chat to her and made her feel good. Then when we got to St Valery sur Somme and another English couple came over and chatted and she really enjoyced that and was happier - partly because we had to go home to La Rochelle and then to London for some business for a week or so.... Then I need to take her back to St Valery to take the boat down the Rivers and Canals back home...

Trouble is Monique does not seem to take any interest at all in the sourroundings. Cannot see the countryside and the nice things around - or does not want to see which may be the same thing. She is now saying (after a couple of days at home) that she will do the canals with me - maybe which is encouraging -

What I am asking is do you think that being unhappy in the boat caused her to have the step down - not liking something made her more ill????

We are at home for the last two days and the symptoms do not really seem to have changed but I may be making excuses - would be grateful for any thoughts...


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005

Hi Michael,

Sorry to hear that your trip was not all that you had hoped it would be. Still it sounds like there were good points along the way.

There was a thread started recently by Lulu on the topic of holidays which you might want to take a look at:


It seems like taking someone with fairly well-established AD out of their "comfort zone" can be disruptive in ways that are hard to anticipate.

There is a very good summary of issues relating to travel and dementia compiled by a nuerologist. It is an American article, but much of the content is relevant, especially the section about considering the person with AD's limitations and strengths:


I doubt if your trip made your wife's condition worse or caused a step down. It simply exposed the changing levels of function that had been happening gradually at home.

Take care,



Registered User
Nov 28, 2004
Hello Michael. Perhaps it may help you to know that I have just had very similar experiences whilst on holiday, and if it is going to help you, thought it would be worth my responding to your message although I am still quite new to this.

We discussed every aspect of this holiday with my mum well beforehand, explaining that at times there would be a lot of travelling, but she was adamant that she really wanted to go, that she would be fine. Now I know that she understands these things in theory, and reacts as she has always reacted, but the thing is she didn't understand. Does that make any sense? You can talk things over with her, explain things till the cows come home -but there is no depth to her understanding. That was the upsetting part for me, knowing that behind her apparent exterior of 'normalness', which doesn't seem to have changed that much since she was diagnosed about a year ago, there seems to be less and less understanding.

Mum also took no interest in her holiday. She was obviously very ill at ease, becoming worse as the holiday went on, but it was without doubt because she was out of her routine, didn't understand what was happening or where she was.
The holiday has long since been forgotten, but people still ask her about it. The word 'holiday' gives her the clue, responding in a way that she has always done -the weather was lovely, had a nice time -wish you were there ...

I too wondered if the holiday causd her to be like this, but feel that Sandy is right. It just exposed what had been happening quietly in the background. It's so very hard, isn't it. Wish you well.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Michael, yes, I too think it is the comfort zone bit, any change disorientates them, there by showing up little things that maybe they had managed to cover or explain away at home. I don't think the holiday/boat trip could really cause a step down in ability, more likely it just emphasised problems more. Love She.XX

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Sandy, Lulu, Shelia,

Thanks for the replies and the references... really helpful. I was needing a little re-asurance that I was not damaging Monique further. Having read your posts, the article and thread I think if I am gentle and encouraging it will be OK to have another go at it...

I have got myself in the situation that the boat is in North East France and Monique and I are in Mid West france and it will take several weeks in the canals to get the boat 'home'.

I cannot leave Monique and the boat cannot stay where it is!!!!!

So long as I know she is not being 'harmed' I think I can persuade her to accept the boat trip and if things get bad then we can just leave the boat somewhere and come home by train and try again later

She seems sanguine about the business trip to London we must make next weekend and going down the canals after that in the boat. Once the boat is home it can be my winter project which will get me out of the house for an hour or two each day whilst Monique is still asleep in the mornings.

I can see that in the future travel must be limited to essentials which really seems to be the main message from all the feedback.

so good to have a place to discuss the promlems with people who have the experience.
Thank you