When you are on holiday and in a group, ensure that you help the person with dementia feel safe, secure and comfortable by having a long standing and trusted family friend or family member accompanying them. Remembering to explain the proceedings of the holiday and answering questions from others as and when needed.
· Encourage others to always say their name and always try to maintain eye contact when speaking with the person who has dementia.
· Always ensure that the person who has dementia can come and go and leave the group as and when required. And try and find a quiet place where he or she can take some rest.
· Try and have something extra-special for them to look at, like a family photo album or their favourite magazine. If he or she like gardening then a gardening magazine may be suitable.
· Choose a background music that is familiar to them, such as music of a specific era played in a style they can connect with. And enjoy.
· Prepare some of their favourite foods.
· When speaking with them, try not to correct them or contradict. And always listen carefully to what they say and let them talk without interrupting.
· Always appreciate them for who they are.
The summer holidays provides an ideal opportunity for family reunions and get-togethers with friends. However, it can also pose a number of challenges for Alzheimer’s sufferers and any other form of dementia.
Here are some easy and straightforward tips for keeping those who suffer with dementia away from unexpected troubles during the holidays:
• Always think about the emotional impact on the person who has Alzheimer’s. Holidays can be difficult because the holiday can bring a sudden change in environment and changes to their normal daily routine. As when away on holiday the person with Alzheimer’s can be away from their home where there are lots of different people. A lot of noise and activity can be very overwhelming for someone with Alzheimer’s.
• Whilst away from home always remove any carpets, throws or rugs within the holiday accommodation etc. As for a hotel these are nice decorative touches to the apartment, they also create an opportunity for the Alzheimer’s sufferer to slip, trip and fall over . Potentially this can result in an unfortunate injury.
• Take it easy when planning the day’s activities. An easy to do itinerary of holiday activities and day trips can reduce the likelihood of over stimulation and increased levels of confusion for an Alzheimer’s sufferer or dementia patient.
• Fully familiarise yourself with the holiday complex/park or hotel you are staying at. And be aware of any steps or sudden changes in elevation. Even if it’s a single-step drop into the living room, when someone’s judgment or thought process is impaired by Alzheimer’s or dementia, this unexpected single step may present a clear and present hazard than a whole flight of stairs.
• When away on holiday only bring what you need. As often too much clutter creates problems for Alzheimer’s sufferers. Always ensure extension leads within your living area are always tucked nicely away to avoid tripping and falling.