Travelling with AD

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Sue has been posting about flying with her mum.... Syncronicity???

One of my tenants in London is leaving at the end of the month and I-we must go there to re-let the flat.... Taxi to La Rochelle airport - Ryan Air Stansted - Coach Waterloo - Tube with one change - Taxi or walk to flat - cope with tenant... persuade Monique this is a great place to be for a while.

A few years ago I would travel from the West Indies - USA - anywhere in Europe without a moments hesitation but now? Feels like a major logistical operation!

Packing for Monique - minor .... Getting her out of bed in time for the taxi and having the 'conversation' about how I can just leave her - why does she have to come with me... MEGA one false slip here and we will not be standing in the check in queue.

Getting seats together on Ryan Air depends on either getting there 2 hours early or moving fast once the gate opens - 2 hours of 'why are we here?' or trying be very close to the gate (means standing for some time) and then persuading her to walk fast and climb the steps into the aircraft and grab the first pair of seat available. (Failed on the last trip and spent much time waving down the centre isle of the aircraft!)

Stansted is pretty busy and Monique will be v tired by then - fed up - wanting the loo (all those stories) and we get to the coach depot where I have to leave her for a minute to buy the tickets (no point in pre booking as I do not know how long the loo will take or how slowly she will move)

Coach will be anger time - 'What the hell are we doing here'?

Victoria or Liverpool street and a very exhausted Monique - me tired too, with a bag of duvets and pillow etc - clothes - lap top, slowly descending into the bowls of the earth talking optimisticly about how great it is to be in London again!

Change trains with all the problems of getting Monique on or off before the doors close - (just imagine if we got seperated at this point - does not bear thinking about!) Out into daylight - no taxis - walking - tired to a flat....

Makes you smile? Well I am a bit.... We did the same trip almost exactly a year ago for the same reason - this next trip will be interesting, in as much as I will find out how practical it is - The upside is that Monique is always saying she wants to go back to London so that is a great carrot for me - Fairly certain that when she has been there a while she will want to go back to France. Just hope the flat lets quickly.

Other big hurdle is it is difficult for me to leave her when I go to the shops for sustenance or maintance items as after half an hour she forgets where I am and panics which in a strange flat could be very frightening for her.

Not sure why I am posting this - others face far greater problems but the anticipation of it all is concentrating my mind!

Michael :rolleyes:


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Michael, do hope all goes well for you on your "adventure" I searched for a word to describe it, but that seemed the most apt! It wont be easy but then adventures are like that, never knowing what will happen next. Perhaps you could jot down the happenings, turn them into an article and sell it to a newspaper or something to further the cause? Let us know how it all goes won't you. Love She. XX


Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
Dear Michael

Who should reply but me :) For me, a journey from France to England seems like a trip to the backyard when compared to a journey from Germany to India :D No offence meant - just being weird :p

I requested for airport assistance which costs money but saves one a lot of trouble - esp. when you have to worry about the 'patient' getting lost, restless, doors closing when one has already got in. In fact, the latter happened on Friday at our main station. A senior couple was going down the escalator. I was just a few steps behind when the train arrived; the senior gentleman ran and got in with the luggage but his wife couldn't manage it and fell on the moving escalator. She couldn't get up in time, the train left and the people behind on the escalator fell on top of her - in a cascade. We all helped her but she probably was from Greece, didn't speak English or German but luckily she knew where she wanted to go and just waited for the next train.

I would really suggest that you to ask for/insist on assistance both at La Rochelle and Stansted - in my mum's case, it turned out to be an advantage - priority check in, hydraulic lifts, man in attendance to take care of her while we concentrate on luggage, customs, papers and the like. I did all this in advance before the journey, confirmed and reconfirmed everywhere. I have done it in Frankfurt, Brussels, Bahrain, Bombay ...everyhere. I think you should also talk to Ryan Air and ask them to make an exception.

DON'T PERSUADE HER TO WALK FAST - IT WILL PUT HER UNDER ENORMOUS PRESSURE - instead get priority assistance ( I don't know if you need to say something like she suffers from palpitations ). I would do it at any cost.

Someone else wrote about portable urinals to be used during traffic jams etc. Not a bad idea - have been thinking of getting one but I avoid giving too much to crink to my mum - instead give her lemon toffees - whatever they are called - thirst quenchers.

I suggest using the resting lounge at the airports to give Monique frequent rests. In spite of every precaution that I took, my mother wandered off from the transit hotel in India while she was under the care of my husband. He thought she was going to the room but she just walked out. She was found by a young jogger three hours later, around 9 p.m. near some railway tracks but as she had jewellery on her, she could have easily been a victim to crime in a country like India.

About coach doors, here in Germany they have assistance on prior request. Should be available in London too.

Another thing I do is to involve my mother in the activities - give her a nearly empty trolley to push in front of me - she feels important and seems to do as I say.

It's quite a job going out for maintenance and sustenance - I write everything in bold letters on several sheets of paper - give some to her, keep in strategic places, on the doors etc. It is better than nothing at all. It might not be a bad idea to use a taperecording with your gentle voice and message which runs itself so that she hears it constantly. With my mum, it works at times, at other times, it confuses her. So I resort more to the writing.

If she is angry, you should just ignore it under these circumstances.

Why walk on the streets - isn't it possible to get your tenant or some friend to pick you up or is it a no-traffic zone ? If so, a wheel-chair probably ??

Forgive me if I tended to pontificate; surely you have thought of everything but in the 'heat' of the situation, it can all get very difficult for one person to manage, under the circumstances we all are in.

Do keep us posted and in the end, remember to stay cool. :cool:

Warm regards

Sue Stimpfig


Registered User
Jun 2, 2005
Los Angeles, USA
Good luck, Michael! I have found London, Heathrow Airport, etc., to be pretty "disabled-friendly" so it might be worth some phone calls to see if you can arrange some extra conveniences.


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Is it possible for you to find someone to take care of Monique while you are gone? The cost of a caregiver would probably be not much more than the airfare, I hope. It could be a lot less stressful for you as you could move at whatever pace you need to. At some point in time, you should consider Monique not travelling anymore. It really is discombobulating for AD patients.

It's odd, isn't it? They always seem to want to be on the move but it messes them up no end.

The Paul Simon song says it all "I'm on my way, I don't know where I'm going".

Good luck.

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Sue hi,

In no way am I comparing a flight from Germany to India with a domestic across Europe - For you, the journey must be terrifyingly daunting, coping with your mum for all those hours - days. Thank you though, for the various suggestions and of course Karen and Joanne.

As I think Sheila understood, I sort of posted my upcoming 'adventure' with a bit of a smile or possibly grimace. A trip which a short while ago I would make from sometimes the other side of the world without thinking about (except to find a good paperback to read) has now become a challenge.... All part of life's rich pageant - I guess.

Low cost airlines, out of low cost airports, are really not interested in passengers with problems - in fact informing Ryan Air of the situation could cause them not to let me on the flight, so I play the game - Airports like La Rochelle are tiny and have no facilities to speak of - just a long check in queue. It is my choice if I use them or not.

Alternative is driving - 48 hours with car ferries and no where to park in London - or trains with changes across Paris and an early start which would be almost impossible for Monique - so I am grateful that the relative ease of Ryan Air exists.

I think one of the publicly difficult parts of looking after someone with AD is that they appear so normal - No crutches - no wheel chair - and Monique would never never admit there is anything wrong with herself or to anyone else.

Monique's answer to my problems when I try to discuss them is ' just go on and do ... it. I will be fine here. You don't have to be with me all the time.'
If I go out for more than half to 3/4 hour she is in a panic, distraught and very angry when I get back.

Joanne, if I could find someone to look after Monique for a week or so I would - like a shot. That would be a real 'Bridge over troubled waters'. The harsh reality is that nobody is going to give up days of their lives to looking after someone else unless they are properly paid or just want to.

One of the things I am just starting to discover is the frightening, financial cost of this illness. I have just got the local social services to supply me with a 'helper - carer' for 4 hours, one day a week (My boat desperately needs some TLC as well!!) The cost of this afternoon off is 48 €Euro or roughly 48US=£33 a week or £1700 a year!!!!!... And that's for something which is pretty minimal. These costs can only rise dramatically as things progress - There are no family around to help - Monique's brother turns up for a few hours sometimes - gives me some advice and leaves - great!

At least an adventure is something to look forward to - it will either be much better or much worse than I anticipate - and you 'only regret the things you don't do'...

love and thanks for the replies



Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Not wanting to seem defeatist, but ...

Wouldn't it be worth employing an agent to look after your property & tenants?
I don't mean worth only in terms of the money, but when you count in the hassle-factor you describe? That is huge too. Have you ever enquired about it? One of my friends has a distant property (albeit they are both in the same country) but the agent she uses does it all for her. Obviously they charge her for the service, but she's only a common or garden working person like me, & to her it's worth it.

If you HAVE to travel with Monique, I would certainly echo the advice from others about asking for wheelchair assistance, etc. which can often open the way for other short cuts and kindness, once people realise extra help would be appreciated.

Best wishes


Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
Hi Michael

I know exactly what you mean - I really have all the very same problems that you mention . I too have legal obligations in India such as mum's pension, my flat, regular payments etc. etc. which necessitate a periodical visit and for want of a working alternative, we are kind of forced to take our 'wards' with us all over.

Although you might not have been seeking specific answers, out of curiosity I checked out the airports and Ryan air on the internet. - I have used Ryan air myself and I do understand that small airports are not always as well equipped as the larger ones. However, my quick internet search revealed the following. Please do ignore all this if you already have the info.

Ryan air has this as a hyperlink to its website


Special Needs

Do I need to advise Ryanair prior to travel if I have special needs or reduced mobility?
What type of special assistance should I request?
Where do I go in the airport to get my pre-booked special assistance?
Can I bring my own wheelchair?
Can Ryanair provide me a wheelchair for use at the airport?
Can I bring a Guide dog on a Ryanair flight?
Can I bring a Portable Dialysis Machine?
Can I bring my own oxygen onboard?
How can I book Oxygen?
When does a passenger need to be accompanied by a personal care attendant?
If I have a medical condition such as a stroke, epilepsy, heart condition, asthma or have recently had an operation can I still fly?
Do passengers with diabetes need to make any special arrangements to travel on Ryanair flights?
What is Ryanair's policy for the carriage of expectant mothers?
Is there a minimum time period before a newborn baby and his/her mother before they are allowed to travel on a Ryanair flight?
Can a passenger bring medical syringes on board?
Can I travel with a broken leg in a cast?
Would I be able to travel if I have contracted chickenpox?
Can I travel if I have a minor case of an infectious disease?
Are peanuts/nuts used in the meals/snacks on board Ryanair flights?
I have a nut allergy and want to know if Ryanair have a policy on using nuts within their meals?
Can I purchase an extra seat for a large person?

I think they are willing to answer some of the questions, irrespective of where they are flying from. Didn't have enough time to navigate their entire web site though.

The other is about facilities at Stansted under:

And lastly, La Rochelle's website in English had the followingin its text-
Disabled Facilities: The airport is wheelchair accessible and toilets for the disabled are located in the terminal. Airport staff will assist on request.

I do understand that Monique will refuse to use a wheel-chair etc. My mum, even at 80, refuses and makes a fuss everywhere.

All the best again !

Sue Stimpfig

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Sue hi,

Thank you for all that - how kind to sympathise - would be so easy if we could just get on with things - having to look after someone 24/7 makes the simplest tasks challenging...

The Ryan Air stuff is useful thank you - The reality of La Rochelle airport, which I know well, is that although the facilities exist, accessing them is almost impossible as the check in desk queue fills the hall when ever Ryan Air arrives/departs.

There is also a little notice somewhere on the RA web site that says that they will only carry I think 4 disabled on any one flight.... Not worth the risk - they are willing to do what is 'politically correct' but if one wants proper help then you need to be flying with a 'major carrier' and paying a major price! I suspect you pay lots for your India flights and the carriers can and should help you. My income depends on my making these London trips every so often and Monique can grasp the importance of money - no problem. she just needs frequent reminding!!! - I am sure we will manage OK.

Is that tempting providence?




Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Michael, travelled to Spain in Sept. with Lionel in wheelchair. Used Easyjet and found them to be most helpful........I was pleasantly surprised. Thinking of you, Connie

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
Connie hi,

I think Lionel is further on than Monique??? To suggest a wheel chair would surprise and anger her. As far as she is concerned there is no problem - just slight memory concerns - We play a sort of game that nothing untoward is happening!!! It may be possible 'later' whatever that means - but thank you for the Easyjet info - I will try talking to Ryan Air - This trip is something of an experiment - if I cannot make it work within reasonable bounds then lots of other solutions will have to be considered..
Wouldn't it be worth employing an agent to look after your property & tenants?
I don't mean worth only in terms of the money, but when you count in the hassle-factor you describe?

Lynne hi,
The agent route is the last resort really - I have been a 'professional' landlord for the last 10 years or so - managed to look after my properties and tenants myself whilst sailing around the world - only in the South Pacific when flying back was impractical did I use an agent.

There are several problems with agents (quite apart from the cost which is considerable) When a tenant leaves it is an opportunity to get into the flat and see what state the fixtures, fittings and furnishings are in - do minor (or sometimes quite major) repairs and redecorations myself. Agents can arrange this on a cost plus basis!!! Keeping the properties looking good is a very important part of finding suitable tenants. I also consider myself pretty good at the tenant selection process - make mistakes occasionally but trust my judgement more than any agent who is not looking for successful long term lets. When there is a real problem, the agent will just duck!

So this AD problem is possibly going to impact on how I generate our money - must keep going for as long as possible keeping control of my business as I am beginning to see the huge costs of supporting Monique properly loom ever closer.

Trying to keep things as normal as possible for as long as possible...

To-day at 14.00 the 'carer' lady - Astride arrives for the 2nd time. 4 hours to 'sit' with Monique and do some light cleaning (or not) I need to do some work on my boat so am really looking forward to this afternoon off. Just hope it works out OK!
love and thanks for the feedback


Registered User
Dec 27, 2004
HI MICHAEL ,i use to travel to Tenerife twice a year prior to the last 2 years ,JIM was very aware of his problems ,but would not tolerate using a chair , even though he could not walk unaided ,But i did use to ask at the time of booking ,or even at the check in desk ,for early boarding ,due to Jims spatial awareness , they always obliged me ,and every little helps just getting on the plane first and getting settled in the seat ,i always asked for seats near the toilets as well , good luck ,ANGELA