Judy (78) and Bert (90), who lives with Alzheimer’s, had a Dementia Adventure supported holiday to the Isle of Wight in October 2022.
Bert had been in residential care, but they were unsatisfied with it, so Judy became Bert’s sole caregiver, and she was finding life tough. Judy’s GP referred her to her local Social Prescribing service, which helps people improve their health and wellbeing by exploring local resources such as support groups, courses and information.
Five years ago, Judy had been told by a health professional that she shouldn’t take Bert on holiday due to his dementia.
“She said it was inadvisable, that I couldn’t just uproot Bert and take him somewhere else – he should stay at home. So I thought, that was that; no more holidays.”
Social prescriber finds Dementia Adventure
However, an article about Dementia Adventure’s supported dementia holidays caught Judy’s attention.
“We needed a break, and time as a couple. It’s something that creeps up on you. You get on with what you have to do. But I was very aware that I was Bert’s carer 90% of the time, and being his wife, companion and friend had taken a big backseat.”
Judy’s social prescriber, Mary, contacted DA and found out that not only could Judy and Bert safely take a holiday with us – we could also offer financial support to make it a reality. And Mary’s help didn’t stop there.
“She found us two other grants from local charities, which made it all possible. We’re so grateful to her. Suddenly, we didn’t have to worry that we couldn’t manage it financially.”
Once the Isle of Wight holiday was booked, Judy still had some concerns.
I didn’t need to worry…
“My main worry was whether Bert would suddenly wonder where he was and what was going on – would he be OK away from home?”
She needn’t have worried.
“In the 48 years I’ve known him, he’s always been quiet, and dementia’s pushed him more into his shell. But on the holiday, he just blossomed. The place we stayed was lovely, the food was so good and all the couples and the Dementia Adventure team were just gelled. Bert absolutely loved the company and going out every day. He refused to pack to come home!
I had bought a new walker for the holiday but it became clear that Bert’s mobility was not as good as we’d thought. It wasn’t a problem. Dementia Adventure sourced wheelchairs for our day trips, and their amazing volunteer, Mike, pushed Bert everywhere!”
“Judy appeared to relax more and more as the week progressed. If my being there helped her to do that, who could wish for more by way of thanks.”
Walking aside, Bert’s health definitely improved during the holiday.
“His awareness improved, he talked more, and he was noticeably more physically upright by the end of the holiday. We even did a bit of dancing – it’s been years since our rock ‘n’ roll days!”
The benefits of the holiday
The holiday gave Judy a new perspective on her day to day life.
“I did so much walking – more than in a month at home. I was amazed at myself and I felt so much better. It made me think, I can do that if I make the effort. It also made me realise how much I actually do in the course of a day – because I didn’t have to think about anything apart from ‘ooh, where are we going today’?
The holiday also brought home that I’m not the only person caring for someone with dementia, and some people are dealing with far more than I am. My approach to caring has changed. I feel more in control, and more self assured – I know I’m doing a good job and that I can cope. I’m also thinking how lucky I am, rather than moaning all the time!”
Judy would recommend a Dementia Adventure supported break to anyone living with dementia.
“Everything was just lovely – how it was thought through, catered and organised. Without you, we would never have had a break, and being together as man and wife again helped both of us. Don’t hesitate; go for it!”
If you would like a supported dementia holiday, go here to find out more. We offer tailored or small group holidays in a range of destinations across the UK.
Our holidays are available to people from all walks of life. To make them affordable, our listed prices have been subsidised by 30%, but don’t want finance to be a barrier to you getting the holiday you need. If the subsidised price of the holiday is out of reach read about how we can support you with the cost of your holiday. We will help to make your holiday possible.