“For weeks after the holiday, I found myself smiling and feeling relaxed. Brian equally seemed to feel the benefits. We had felt normal again and could be hopeful about the future.” – Rachel Arnold
Most of us know someone who has been affected by dementia. It is estimated that one million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. Until there is a cure we need ways to live better with this condition.
Research shows that getting outside, even for a short time, significantly improves health and wellbeing. Benefits can include improved sleep patterns, appetite, speech, personal relationships, and reduced stress, anxiety and loneliness.
This is the key focus for the charity Dementia Adventure. They are a research-led organisation dedicated to creating better opportunities for people with dementia to get outside and continue to do the things they love.
Dementia Adventure identified that without the right support and understanding the thought of a holiday can be daunting for both the person with dementia and their carer. That is why they designed a programme of fully supported breaks. These small group holidays are an alternative to more traditional respite, allowing people with dementia and their partners, family, friends or carers to enjoy a break together.
The key to the success of these breaks is the trained and supportive team of people who understand the needs of both the person with dementia and their carer. Holiday itineraries are carefully designed with dementia in mind, but are equally suitable for carer, from relaxing by the coast to walking up mountains. They also offer bespoke holidays for couples or families who prefer not to travel in small groups.
To make them affordable and benefit as many people as possible, two-thirds of the costs of a holiday are subsidised through charitable donations and other support such as that received by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Rachel Arnold explains how her first break with Dementia Adventure on the Isle of Wight gave her and husband Brian, the chance to do the things they love and to enjoy time together once again.
“My husband, Brian, and I have always enjoyed holidays. However, after Brian’s diagnosis our holidays had started to feel stressful and isolating. We didn’t want to stop having holidays. I discovered Dementia Adventure and read about their holiday in the Isle of Wight – five days, everything organised, all-inclusive, with a small number of couples (person with dementia and family member) and support for each couple. It sounded like it could be brilliant or a nightmare! I was worried that it would be all about dementia rather than an escape from it.
My fears were quickly allayed. We were with people who understood. I could relax and enjoy being looked after too. I had nothing to organise. Brian felt relaxed. Everything was high quality. Everyone understood each other’s circumstances and pulled together. There was no rush, no explaining, no stress. There was support when we needed it and space to be on our own as well. Brian, a man of few words captured it brilliantly – Wonderful!
For weeks after the holiday, I found myself smiling and feeling relaxed. Brian equally seemed to feel the benefits. We had felt normal again and could be hopeful about the future.”
Through their holidays, Dementia Adventure consistently see the genuine change that outdoor activity brings into the lives of people with dementia and their carers. They encourage us to think differently about dementia and see that life does not stop at the point of diagnosis. Holidays are not only still possible, but they significantly improve the well-being of those who have one.
Please visit www.dementiaadventure.co.uk for more information about their holidays, training, research and how to live better with dementia.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Dementia Adventure