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Going on holiday... Good or bad?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Richierich, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. Richierich

    Richierich Registered User

    Mar 6, 2013
    17
    My Mum has early stage Alzheimer's so basically forgets a lot of things we tell her now but overall functions well.

    She wants to go and see her family in the USA and we just can't decide if it's a good or bad thing.

    Will the different environment just confuse and unsettle her and maybe make her go downhill or will seeing her family lift her spirits and get her to focus and do more?

    Should one of us go with her? She insists she is ok to go in her own but she also doesn't acknowledge she has Alzheimer's and says it's just old age.

    What do you think we should do... One of us kids could go with her but it won't be easy.

    Thanks in advance for all your comments


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    9,765
    Merseyside
    Personally I think it's a recipe for disaster.
    She'll be out of her routine & familiar surroundings, she will have jet lag to contend with & how do you keep her settled for a long flight?
    Could the family come to her?
     
  3. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    While of course it's impossible to predict what would happen, generally speaking, I doubt the trip is a good idea. Of course she may enjoy it and get pleasure from seeing family, and it's understandable to want to visit/see family.

    However, there are a lot of moving pieces to a trip like this: navigating the airports, making a connection, managing luggage, the flight, jet lag, an unfamiliar environment on the other end.

    If she goes, and I think that's a big if, I would not allow her to go by herself.

    I also think that having family come to her would be the ideal situation. They may well want to visit while the Alzheimer's is still early stage. (As I'm sure you know, sadly, it will not get better.)

    Could you ask her GP, neurologist, or other physician for their advice about such a trip?
     
  4. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,717
    Female
    Dundee
    Good morning and welcome to TP.

    It's a difficult one. I know a number of people on TP have taken their loved one in long haul holidays - with mixed results.

    For certain she would need to have someone with her. I would not consider letting her go by herself. Airports are confusing places for those without dementia but hold many dangers and problems for those who do. I think it would be best to get assistance through the airport as well. I would organise a wheelchair as part of the assistance as you are well looks after by airport staff. I would also let the cabin staff know that she has dementia.

    Insurance is another issue to consider. Her dementia would have to be declared and the extra amount paid for declaring the medical condition.

    I have a friend who took her husband (with quite advanced dementia) to Australia last Christmas. She was in the fortunate position that she could pay for business class and he had a bed in the plane. Not many of us can do that though!

    I have done short haul flights with my husband who has quite advanced dementia. I would never consider these without being accompanied by someone else. We went to New York and Boston a number of years ago when he was in the early stages of the disease. I have to confess that my heart was in my mouth going through security etc.

    You and your wife will know your MIL best. It's not a decision to be made lightly. If you have any doubts then I would consider what Cat suggested and think about your family coming over here.
     
  5. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,232
    Female
    The Sweet North
    I agree with the above. My husband could not have travelled alone even in the early stages.
    Unless someone can accompany her I would strongly advise against it -- I'm afraid your Mum is not the best judge of how she would manage.
     
  6. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    442
    I would agree with others that the holiday would be too much for your mum. She would be confused and disorientated all the time, and would forget it almost immediately when home. I took my mum on a trip to Cornwall to meet old friends just as she was diagnosed. I lost her in the hotel twice and she could not remember much of the trip afterwards. The trip to Blackpool the following year was even worse.
     
  7. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    There is another consideration apart from the actual journey - how would the relatives in the U.S. cope with dementia? Would they be prepared for confusion and all the rest? Maybe wandering about at night, disoriented? Forgetting where the loo is in a strange environment?
    Most people who haven't lived with it really don't have a clue.
    Anyone who might accompany her would need to sleep in the same room, I would think, but I agree that it's probably a tall order altogether.

    Could you perhaps just keep putting it off without telling her it's a no-no? 'Maybe when they're not so busy, or when their extension's finally finished,' or whatever sounds good in the circs?
     
  8. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,559
    Female
    Scotland
    Wits end is right. Delaying tactics until she develops a new obsession. And she will! Our last long haul was the year John was diagnosed, from the UK to New York and down through the States to New Orleans. He cannot remember a thing about it. I do. He stepped out of our hotel bedroom to get ice from the machine in the corridor and was immediately lost. It is no fun wandering in a big hotel shouting your loved ones name while they are off on some delusion or other.

    Great holiday - nightmare behaviour.
     
  9. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,399
    Male
    Cornwall
    Hi this may not be the reply your after but the first thing do you enjoy going on holiday the second early stage of dementia should not stop a person from do nothing at all now as a lot of T P members know I have dementia I still class my self as the early stage after 16 years ok when I have the test the result says I'm at the moderate stage but that's because they ask the wrong questions , back to holidays I take two sometimes three holiday a year the I did have a problem last year with travel insurance but that sorted now thanks to Lzzy pointing me in the right direction USA maybe a problem though your mum could stay just stay at the early stage
     
  10. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,111
    #10 Bod, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
    Absolutely agree.
    For her routine is everything, from putting the left slipper on first, in the morning, to sitting between Anne and Peter at the day-centre on Wednesday.

    I would think very carefully about even a day-trip in this country, with her now.

    Bod
    Edit to add.
    Talking from experience of a "holiday" with a sufferer. Even the dog was glad to be back home!
     
  11. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,399
    Male
    Cornwall
    I'm confused here I thought we were talking about a person is at the early stage of dementia a person at early or mild stage should not have any problems carrying their usual daily tasks or living their lives to the full
     
  12. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,111
    Depends very much on the person, as I'm sure you are only to well aware.
    A person who is diagnosed early on, might well be capable for a long time, however a later diagnosis may not have that time.

    Bod
     
  13. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,232
    Female
    The Sweet North
    And my husband was diagnosed very early, but would not have been able to travel alone.

    Tony, you are almost a miracle in what you can still do after all these years, and I think that is absolutely marvellous, but very very unusual. You obviously have a dementia which progresses extremely slowly -- I wonder if you have something in your genes? Whatever, you may be unlucky to have dementia, but you have been fortunate in the way it has had so little impact on you. Long may this continue for you, Tony.
     
  14. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,399
    Male
    Cornwall
    yes Bod your quite correct
     
  15. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    Too true. I was very glad we had taken my mother on a special long-haul holiday before she showed any signs of dementia. Once the signs were clear, only a couple of years later, that same holiday would have been very difficult, and she probably would not have enjoyed it nearly so much, if at all.
    I well remember saying to OH, 'If we don't do it now...'
    She was already over 80 but I had never thought dementia would be the reason why we wouldn't be able to do it in future.
     
  16. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,399
    Male
    Cornwall
    #16 Countryboy, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
    Sorry me again obviously it’s always a good idea when discussing about a person with dementia to give their age , when I was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I was 57 years old I’m 72+ but unfortunately when we reply it can only be as we see the person with dementia or in cases like mine experienced the dementia myself for 16 years now personally I don’t see myself get any worse now I’m gone past the sell by date

    all I need to do now is keep dodging the old grim reaper as long as possible becausing he's closing in
     
  17. Sammyjo1

    Sammyjo1 Registered User

    Jul 8, 2014
    194
    My OH is in the very early stages but there is no way that I'd let him go away by himself. His main problems are with spatial awareness and he also gets confused if he has to make a decision quickly so airports can be really tricky for him.

    I think it's just not possible to make any kind of assertion about when it is possible or not possible for things to happen. Each person with ALZ is so different and the symptoms manifest themselves in different ways.
     
  18. JigJog

    JigJog Registered User

    Nov 6, 2013
    241
    Since diagnosis I have been on holiday with my husband twice. On each occasion it was to somewhere familiar to him and he was still early stage.

    However on each occasion I found it very challenging, as new and different aspects of his behaviour emerged, as a result of being out of his comfort zone. I would never have believed that he could have had such changes in his behaviour and was totally thrown for a while.

    Everything returned to normal once he was home, but you have to take into account the unpredictability of this disease.

    JigJog x
     
  19. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    The insurance is an excellent point to consider, and one I didn't think of. I imagine this is even more of an issue with an overseas trip.

    I agree that discussion with the family whom she's visiting would be very important. Often family members who live elsewhere, and haven't seen the person with dementia in some time, are (understandably) not prepared for the changes in the person, or may even be in denial that they have a problem.

    Obviously her safety is paramount so I would think that making this sort of journey alone is just not a good idea. I hope you're able to come up with a plan that works.
     
  20. Richierich

    Richierich Registered User

    Mar 6, 2013
    17
    Gosh! Lots of food for thought there, which I appreciate. It's such a difficult one because it could be ok (and I agree we shouldn't let her go on her own) but then it could be a bad idea.

    I don't want her to feel her life is over already when in reality she's still very much 'compos mentis' but I know routine is key.

    I'll talk to my siblings... I appreciate all the advice/ comments - thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     

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