1. lmkettle

    lmkettle Registered User

    Aug 31, 2006
    Hi All,

    My mother in law has had Alzheimers for approx 6 years and is on Aricept. Her 2nd husband has booked a 2 week Caribbean cruise on Star Clipper ship in Dec 06 which is a sailing ship and we are worried as to how she will get on with the long flight and cruise. She gets attendance allowance and I know that he has not informed the travel insurance, airline or ship as to her condition.She has had a few episodes of loss of bowel movement also with no physical reason and we are worried about how she will cope. We have tried to broach the subject with her husband but he just wont listen.He has also booked a villa in Florida for 5 weeks in Februray 07
    Any input would be usful.

  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    No advice, I'm afraid, just a lot of sympathy. Although my Mother is probably older than your MIL, and has vascular dementia rather than AD, I have agonised over possibly taking her away for a vaction, or even bringing her over to the US (where I live) for a visit, and I really do not see how it would be possible. Air travel (particularly nowadays) is so stressfull I cannot imagine how anyone could cope with a dementia sufferer - I have enough problems dealing with it on my own. I have even considered a ocean liner crossing (am still considering it actually). Even a hotel would be problematic - Mummy is normally continent, but sometimes..... I have tried a trial run using continence products, and although she'll put them on to go to bed, during the night she will remove them!

    How is your MIL's balance? - a sailing ship is no place for someone who is unsteady on their feet quite apart from the safety issues. What on earth is her husband thinking?

  3. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    It's one of those things, isn't it?

    Either a brilliant idea - or absolutely bonkers.

    The person living full time with the sufferer ought to be able to give the call on this, but it seems a mighty big chance to me.

    Certainly the insurance people need to know. To arrange emergency uplift from a cruise ship without insurance would be a huge expense, let alone the distress and confusion it would cause to the patient, and the fact it would totally mess up the holiday for many other passengers.

    I'd also hate to pay medical fees in the US because it would be unlikely that holiday insurance would cover them without prior knowledge.

    On balance, I'd say the idea is bonkers, having pushed to the limit in my last vacations with Jan. Looking back, there is no way I would have done them had I known.
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #4 jenniferpa, Aug 31, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
    Also, having checked out the Star clipper site it says this

    Star Clippers reserves the right to refuse or revoke passage to anyone who, in its judgement, is unfit to travel due to a physical or mental condition or who may require care beyond that which can be provided by Star Clippers.

    I can easily see them getting there, and then being refused passge. The web pages also say that anyone with a physical or mental disability needs to get a certificate of travel from their doctor - do you think that would be likely to be forthcoming?


    P.S. Lovely ships, from what I can see, but I think Brucie is right about "bonkers"
    P.P.S. No way, no how, should anyone travel to the US without medical insurance. My MIL had a stroke here in the US last year, and her medical bills for emergency room, transport, drugs and 2 weeks in hospital topped $150,000 (covered by insurance)! One drug (of which she had 2 doses) cost $6000 a dose!
  5. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    and that makes it very interesting. For instance, if someone turns up and is refused , then they might be deemed to have done the company out of another [in their terms healthy] fare-paying passenger/passengers. Under those circumstances they might refuse a refund.

    This might be especially true if the illness was one that had never been disclosed but that had been known of for some time.
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I would be very surprised to get any refund in those circumstances.

    It also says

    Each Passenger represents and warrants that he is physically and otherwise fit to travel on the Voyage. Any Passenger who has any form of mental or physical disability, or who is experiencing any form of mental or physical illness, either of which disability or illness could affect his fitness for travel, must report such disability or illness to Carrier when the reservation is made and must submit a physician's certificate certifying Passenger's fitness for travel


    The Carrier reserves the right in its sole discretion to refuse or revoke passage at any time to any Passenger who may be suffering from a contagious or infectious disease, or whose presence may be detrimental to the well-being, comfort or safety of other passengers or the crew, or who may be excluded from landing at a destination by immigration or other governmental authorities. In such case, the Carrier shall refund the fare paid or the pro-rata portion thereof, as the case may be, after deducting the expenses incurred by the Carrier on account of such Passenger and, thereupon, the Carrier shall be discharged from any further liability.

    I suspect that the latter could and would be stretched, as Brucie suggests, to cover the loss of fee paying passengers, and frankly, I would think the company would be quite justified in doing so.

    This is all a bit problematic - I think simply getting the OP's MIL across the atlantic would be a major stumbling block. With the current regulations in force and the general "no exceptions" approach of air travel today, a confused, possibly disruptive passenger on a flight is just as likely to be a) (bad) refused boarding, or b) (worse) cause the plane to make an unscheduled stop to off load said passenger.

    See this report http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4799763.stm

  7. Tressa

    Tressa Registered User

    May 18, 2004
    N. Ireland
    Hi there,

    I can only go by my own experience of taking my mum to Belgium for 5 days last year. Everyone told me I was bonkers but my wonderful Fiance came over to meet us at the airport and it was a great help to have someone else there. I can say hand on heart it was the best thing i have ever done. She absolutely loved it. Of course she has no memory of it now but I will cherish the memories i have of it. I also know an elderly lady from the Support group I used to go to who had lived in Zimbabwe and came home after her husband had been diagnosed. She decided to take him back on holiday as he still had family out there, again everyone told her she was mad but she did it and didnt regret it, although again she had help from her daughter.

    I knew it was going to be something special for me and my mum and at the time she loved it, I knew she would forget it all in time but dont they say 'live for the moment'. Maybe that is what your Stepdad is doing. Maybe he feels they will never have this opportunity again and to try and enjoy what time they have together. What if you try and stop them and succeed? Will you regret it in years to come that they could have had some special moments? Maybe he is being a little adventurous with his choices, maybe a cruise round the Med would have been better and maybe a villa in Italy instead of Florida.

    If he is determined then I think there is little you can do, so maybe the best option is to help him in his quest and make sure everything is out in the open, re: insurance and her medical condition. I did tell the insurance company and it was fine but I was only going to Belgium and for a short period of time. If you have a hand in helping with the arrangements then maybe it will put your mind at rest.

    But try and put yourself in his shoes, he is slowly losing the woman he loves and maybe they had talked about doing all these things before she took ill and maybe he doesnt want to let her down. I am sure he wouldnt be doing it if he felt he couldnt handle it so maybe put some faith in him and his love for your mum.

    I would never change what I done for mum and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  8. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    Hello lmkettle

    I'm taking my mum away shortly. I declared all her ailments (not just her AD/VaD). Like Tressa, we are only poodling across the Channel for a few days. To be frank, I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel with anything longer haul/flying/more than 7 days! The insurance premium itself wasn't particularly high - probably due to the length of stay and destination, however if mum suffers any problems as a direct result of ANY of her illnesses, the excess we have to pay is £1,000.

    On balance both mum and I were happy to go ahead on these terms. Her CPN is also happy with the arrangement.

    I'd rather declare all and be up front than end up stuck on the other side of nowhere with no means to pay for treatment/assistance should it be needed.

    In terms of what you can say to your MIL's hubby I don't honestly know. Whilst I agree with Tressa in that he might be doing it because he realises he's losing your MIL, I would question whether the destinations and means of transport are in her best interests - and at the end of the day, that's what should count most of all.
  9. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    I remember taking Dad down to London to visit an Aunt for 3 or 4 days. Mum had put off the visit worried sick about how he would act but as it turned out he was on his best behaviour. It was as though he was aware that he was "away" and managed to keep it together pretty much.

    We were therefore glad we had gone but after 2 hours of the return drive as we neared home he had forgotten we had been anywhere.

    However - there were 2 of us plus my Aunt on hand to keep an eye. I would have been terrified of the prospect of coping with him alone and even more so on a ship! I would also be worried that the novelty value would wear off after a few days and any "front" that had been put on would fade leaving the usual erratic behaviour to resurface.

    I guess it has to be down to the partner who has he responsibilty of caring - they will no doubt be desperately hoping to escape from the awful reality they are currently enduring. If you fail in your attempts to change the plans then I would be focusing on trying to get the insurance side sorted.

    Tough call...
  10. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hi lmkettle,

    There are so many variables to consider, but much good advice has already been given.

    I certainly agree with the comments on travel insurance and the cost of medical care in the US, both for routine illness and espcially for emergency care. We go to visit my family in California twice a year and always make sure that the travel insurance reflects our current state of health (it's my father-in-law who has AD, but my husband is a Type I diabetic).

    So much of this depends on your mother-in-laws current state of physical and mental health. When was the last time that she went on holiday and how did that go? For example, how would she cope with a weekend away now that involved a hotel stay and a longish car journey? Does she have a tendency to wander?

    How would you describe her husband's care of her? Does he generally seem sensitive and empathetic? Can he see how these experiences might feel from her point of view?

    I would be a bit concerned about his blanket refusal to even discuss it with you - he could be proud, stubborn, scared or just feel that it's none of your business. What do you think it is?

    Having just completed a long-haul flight with my ten year-old daughter, I'm afraid the frustrations and discomforts of travel are fresh in my mind. A person with AD may find all of these experiences overwhelming.

    Take care,

  11. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Imkettle
    Lots of good sensible advice already.
    I did spend a few years at sea and the only time that I was sea sick was on a sailing ship around the Welsh coast.
    A sailing ship is nothing like a cruise ship and I cannot imagine how someone with dementia would cope.:eek:
    As AD progresses we have to realise our limitations,Peg and I have now written off the cruises,the coach holidays,the hotel holidays and now the rented flats.
    I am afraid now it is days out only.
    Best Wishes
  12. lmkettle

    lmkettle Registered User

    Aug 31, 2006
    Travel advice many thanks

    Hello to all who answered my question and there is lots of good advice. We have broached the subject of insurance and the answer is that he has a gold credit card and all insurance is covered by that. My MIL also has high blood pressure and the beginning of diabetes no tablets as yet just daily checkes and diet. I had a phone call yesterday to say that She had a funny turn in bath lost control of bowel movement in there and then went into other room and lost control again All this whilst he is doing breakfast she then comes to kitchen door and collapses He called docotor who said there was no physical cause. This has happened a total of 5-6 times whilst away but not as faraway as Caribbean. He now says that he doesn't think that they will be travelling abroad in 12 months time. They do go for weekend breaks ect now .So his trips are still on no matter what happens We will try and broach the subject again and we have given him lots of info from Alzheimers Society but he has not read it He just doesn't want to know I feel so sorry for them both and so helpless.
  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    #13 jenniferpa, Sep 1, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2006
    While I suppose it would depend on the specific gold card issuer, a standard exclusion on these policies is if you suffer from a terminal illness, or if an illness results from a pre-existing condition you are not covered. Also, how old is she - many have upper age limits.

    For example, this is from Natwest's Gold travel insurance policy, but the language is pretty standard.

    We shall not make any payment in respect of any claim resulting from or arising in connection with:

    A pre-existing medical condition.
    Your pregnancy or childbirth where the expected date of birth is before, or within eight weeks of, the expiry of the trip
    Your participation in a hazardous activity.
    Your sickness or disease or any naturally occurring or degenerative condition.

    I really do not think your MIL would be covered under one of these "one size fits all" policies.

    I wonder if it's possible that the loss of bowel control was due to either a TIA (you say she has high blood pressure) or possibly an epileptic seizure. Were either of these possibilities raised?

    Is her husband aware of the current restrictions on items that can be taken on board a flight? Because if not, perhaps you should point them out to him. Incidentally, the Alzheimer's Society fact sheet is NOT current for air travel, so point that out to him, if he ever does read it. I admire his tenacity but...

  14. lmkettle

    lmkettle Registered User

    Aug 31, 2006
    My MIL is 77 years old and was treated for epilepsy for a number of years but was taken off the tablets and monitered she also had a stroke 12 years ago and had MRI which showed some slight damage. Her GP examined her thouroughly BP ,Pulse,Blood Sugar, Temp all fine.

    There is also the problem of him being her second husband who is quite domineering in fact his 4 children from his previous marriage have nothing to do with him so he is not an easy person to talk too.
    Many Thanks
  15. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    This year we had a holiday booked to Southern Ireland with a reputable Coach company. When I received the confirmation I found that anyone taking anti-depressants would not be covered by the Insurance, so I cancelled the holiday.

    Two years ago we went to India, my Husband`s place of birth. It was the best holiday we had ever had, and even though AD was on the horizon, although we didn`t know it, the return to India after living in the UK for 50 years, was such a delight for him, he was uplifted more than I could have ever imagined.

    Following the despair over having to cancel Ireland, I phoned the company who took us to India. This is a well known Travel company for people over 50. I declared the AD and asked about Insurance. To my delight, I was told there wouldn`t be a problem and we are due to travel, to India again, next month.

    If all goes well we have our sights set on China next year. Anything to ease the monotony and stress of a progressive illness.

    I wouldn`t dream of going anywhere without Insurance and without declaring any conditions or illnesses we might have. The thought of being stranded without help makes me go cold.

    Grannie G
  16. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Way to go Grannie G!

  17. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    It never occurred to me that anti-depressants would be something you'd have to declare. So many people take them.

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