1. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    In the twenty years since my dad died my mum has gone on holiday by herself once or twice a year, going on organised breaks with a trip leader etc. The last one she went on was in 2016. I was worried at the time about it as she has very limited eyesight and it was obvious that she was getting easily confused if not in familar suroundings. Last year she didn't go as she was waiting for an appointment for a minor operation to come through and didn't want to miss her 'slot'. As it was the op didn't happen till February this year. As soon as she knew it was going ahead she started talking about booking a holiday for this year. I didn't veto the idea, but didn't offer to assist, she can't read brouchures or see her credit card details to actually book anything. My brother on the other hand thought it would be a possibility as long as the company knew about her eyesight, and offered to sort one out for her. He was in denial about the increasing lack of mental capacity, even though I was pushing to get her to the GP for a referal. I reluctanly agreed, even though I though it was a bad idea, but then mum went to stay with him and his family. After a meltdown (he'd never witnessed her have one before) which shocked him and his wife and scared their eight year old, he is now backtracking on offering to book anything. The two of us have agreed to say that holidays won't take someone with a visual impairment without a companion.
    I'm going to visit her tomorrow and am wondering whether to offer to go away with her for a short break, something we did a lot of when we were both much younger. In lots of ways I think it is a bad idea, one of the reasons mum is so keen to go is that she hopes to find the tour rep she fell in love with five years ago, and she thinks having someone else along will get in the way. Also though when she is in a good mood we get on great, it is all to easy for the two of us to fall out. I also wonder how much she'd get out of it. She can't see much, doesn't really remember places, and though fit for 90 finds walking any length of time exhaustig. However she does love chatting to people, even though her conversations now tend to be all about her, and meeting new people might do her good. Me, I like visiting museums, walks etc and can't stand lazying by a pool. All of that makes me think I shouldn't suggest we look for something, but on the other hand I'd hate to deny her something that might give her a bit of pleasure.
    Have other had succesful holidays with parents in the early stages of dementia? Any tips?
     
  2. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    1,410
    My husband and myself went on a cruise with dad four years ago. We knew dad had dementia but he didn't know himself. It all worked out well but I did worry the whole time because dad was on a different deck to us and I was scared of loosing him. We swapped places regularly at meal times but dad enjoyed it. He especially liked the fish and chips at lunch time on deck and so did we. Dad was 84 then and I was 57. We do get on well though.

    I think it would have been a lot harder if he had impaired eyesight.
     
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,181
    Female
    Unfamiliar surroundings on a holiday may increase the likelihood of a meltdown, the stimulation of meeting new people in new places might cheer her, or it might leave her completely exhausted and anxious, there's no way of knowing until you try. If you go ahead perhaps it would be best to suggest a short break (say, 3 nights) and make it somewhere you can get back from fairly quickly and easily. Alternatively you and/or your brother could take her for a day out once a fortnight over the summer if that would work better.
     
  4. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    Thank you for your replies. Mum was on pretty good form yesterday, and we had a coffee out when the chat roamed over various subjects we are both interested in such as books and politics, and it felt almost like old times. Holidays were mentioned as we're just back from one. I mentioned in passing the possiblitiy of the two of us going away and left it at that. I'll see if she picks up on it when I next vist.
     
  5. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,111
    My father at this stage, talked the talk about holidays, but never got round to booking, despite encouragement from his girlfriend, who was going with him.
    If mum had a "melt down" at your brothers, then the risk of it happening in a strange place is greater.
    Dementia suffers, thrive on routine, holidays break that routine.

    Bod
     
  6. SKD

    SKD Registered User

    My Mum had always enjoyed her holidays and at first I was concerned that she wasn't getting away. 12 months ago my OH and I took her on a three night break in a self catering cottage just 90 minutes from her home. It went reasonably well - Mum enjoyed being with us, visits to some gardens and a boat trip. We didn't do too much each day. She managed the cottage as none of us was totally at home there but I think the three nights were the limit. I would only have gone to a hotel if she and I were sharing a room (not something OH would be keen on!) On the whole it went well. However 6 months later at Christmas she did not cope well with visiting our home which she has known for 18 years and at that point it was clear that it would be day trips from now on. It is difficult to remember that things we think are good can be frightening and disorientating for a PWD but it does depend what stage they are at.
     
  7. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
     
  8. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
    Just me & hubby looking after mum (every day). No holiday for five years. Getting a bit tired.....
     
  9. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    @jknight, sorry to hear that. Any chance of getting your mother some respite care?
    Mum phoned yesterday to talk about holidays. She'd phoned my brother in the morning to find out if he'd found her something. All our talk about not taking people with poor eyesight alone is being dismissed, and she is talking about trying to book something under her own steam. I think she could just about manage to find something in a brochure if she finds her magnifier (that's a whole other story), but there is no way she could see her credit card details to actually book something. I'm going over on Monday and have the horrible feeling she'll try to persuade me to do it. I'll just stick the eyesight story, and see what happens.
    If she does manage to book something all by herself think I'll have to phone up the company and explain. I'd feel a bit mean about doing that, but it's better than being called out to collect her because she can't cope.
     
  10. jknight

    jknight Registered User

    Oct 23, 2015
    786
    Hampshire
    Mum still lives in her own home, with lots of support. Respite isn't appropriate yet (hence the holiday difficult,) we have decided to get extra carer support and just go for it! Desperately in need of a break.
     
  11. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    Update on holidays. My sister in law has offered to join mum and I on a break which is great. SiL is very much a people's person and her real life job in publicity means she is very good at trying to keep every one happy. Between us we decided that a short break in a posh hotel not too far from home was the way to go. Mum is vetoeing that and saying it's a river cruise or nothing. SiL thinks we should just give in and do it. I think this is all part and parcel of mum's delusions, and that when it came down to it she couldn't cope with the travel, she wouldn't actually enjoy what was on offer and we'd all have a miserable expensive time. There is a bit of me that thinks I'm being mean and we should just go with it and hang the expense and the hassle.
    I'm off to see mum on Wednesday and I'll see how the land lies then. She is still threatening to go away on her own which is what she really wants, but I know without help she can't actually book anything.
     
  12. elvismad

    elvismad Registered User

    Jan 8, 2012
    285
    I don't know what to recommend as everyone is different and you know your mum best. I can only give you an insight into my experiences. I took my mum away every year for the last 34 years - just me and her. We started going for breaks at an adults only venue when overseas travel ( with the hassle of an airport) became to much. Mum was diagnosed mixed Alzheimers & vascular dementia 2011. We did Mon - Fri breaks, and when that became too much, we had several long weekends away a year, usually at the same venue as its near enough to my brother to visit him and his kids as a treat for mum. Last year was the last time we went away. Mum did not enjoy it, was constantly fretful and lost. If I'm honest, I found it exhausting and upsetting. I simply could not keep up the happy front 24/7 any more. Sadly that has meant that mum has not seen her grandchildren for a year.
     
  13. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,181
    Female
    It sounds as if your mother doesn't accept that there is to much wrong with her (which is quite common) and envisages a river cruise will be the same experience now as it was several years ago. You've been pretty clear throughout in your own mind that she wouldn't cope with it, and you may well be right.

    You could advertise the posh hotel break as in addition to the cruise rather than instead of (and postpone booking the cruise). The hotel break would let you assess how well she copes with being away from home and that may help you make a firm decision about the cruise.
     
  14. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    Mum has now phoned the travel company of her choice and reserved a cruise holiday. She wants me to complete the booking for her when I go on Wednesday. She has very little eyesight and can't see to read her credit card details otherwise the whole thing would have been done and dusted. Do I be honest and say there is no way I'm letting her go away on her own, or book it and then phone the company up and explain and get them to let her down gently?
     
  15. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    1,410
    Don't book it as some companies can be funny and you could lose your deposit.

    She will not be happy if you say she can't go, that's for sure.

    I don't know what to say really as she sounds like a very determined lady Could they be overbooked or something. Hopefully someone else can offer some good ideas.
     
  16. Toony Oony

    Toony Oony Registered User

    Jun 21, 2016
    427
    Any chance that they won't let Mum book if she doesn't have travel insurance?

    At her age and having had a small op last year ( plus any other medical stuff that may be appropriate) - insurance may prove difficult and very expensive?

    Just a thought.
     
  17. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    Someone else suggested the insurance route @Toony Oony and I'll certainly flag that up. I haven't acutally seen the details of the cruise mum is hoping to go on. Her eyesight is really bad so I think she just picked out a few words using her magnifier and did the same to get the booking number. A couple of years ago she booked a holiday to Romania that involved at least three hotels and lots of walking. When we explained exactly what she'd booked she agreed it was a bad idea and cancelled. She was only going because she thought the tour rep she'd fallen in love, and who she thought loved her :eek: when she was on another holiday several years previously would be leading it!
     
  18. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    1,410
    The insurance idea is good. It may be very expensive and difficult to get.
     
  19. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    331
    Mum's latest idea is that I go with her as she's admitted she couldn't manage on her own. I phoned the company to get details of which week she'd actually booked, price etc. We have a couple more days to decide on whether to take it or no. I've made it clear that I think mum will find the getting there and back too exhausting even with me (and airport assistance) helping, and probably won't be up to many of the trips. I have also said I'd hate her not to go if that's what she really wants and I must admit that it seems like something I might enjoy and am very unlikely to ever do with my husband. It would be great if SiL could go to, but as the week mum's booked is in the school holidays that won't happen.
     
  20. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    1,410
    Shame your sister in law can't go as it would of made a huge difference to you. I went on a cruise 4 years ago with my dad and my husband came too. My dad so much wanted to go on one more cruise and it was fantastic. He chose and we cruised to Svalbard within the arctic circle and came back stopping off at a few places in Norway, we saw whales and even walrus's swimming in the ocean. I loved it but it was such a strain on me that I found it hard to enjoy it sometimes.

    Dad had his own cabin on a different deck to us and I worried constantly about him. We were up at the crack of dawn every morning to get to his cabin before he tried to come to ours. We went to every single show that dad wanted to go to just to keep him happy. There were talks available everyday about various things like arctic wildlife and environmental concerns that I really wanted to go to but dad didn't fancy so I did not go. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday just to encourage dad to eat. He didn't eat a lot while I just got fatter, we had fish and chips everyday for lunch on deck because that was what dad liked to do. I did enjoy the cruise but I have never been away with dad since as it was just too much worry for me.

    If I had been sharing a cabin with dad it may have been easier as I would not have worried about him so much. and It would have been nice if dad was not so reserved and quiet because perhaps he could have joined in with some others and we could have had time for some of the talks but it was not possible. Also when we went ashore we just ambled a little way from the ship and sat and had a coffee and that was a shame as we would have liked to explore a bit more of all these fantastic places but we couldn't. Sounds like I am complaining but I am not as it was wonderful really but certainly not a holiday for us.

    Don't be put off by what I have written just be prepared. My dad was not too bad then, just very forgetful, a bit like a bumbling Mr Magoo if you can remember him and also very slow at walking and not very far either, not his fault but we missed a lot of things we would have liked to have seen but it was dads holiday and he loved it so we were all happy really but we were not all relaxed. Only you can judge what it will be like with your mum. Dad paid for us which was so kind and I am very grateful for that and the things we did see but it was not all easy.
     

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