Dementia friendly???

There has been a small groundswell of people speaking out about the discrimination, stigma and downright nastiness of others against the elderly, and in particular people with dementia. I posted a comment on this article;

“Whatever happened to equal rights for people with disabilities or impairments, and to humanity, and compassion??? I am as shocked by the comments made by so many above, as much as I am by the cruise ship, which should be sued for discrimination. Not all people with dementia need to be with a carer all the time, and it is their right to be part of our community. Sadly, ageism, discrimination and stigma is very alive and well in Australia.”

A friend of mine Laura Bee wrote on Facebook: “Love how all the comments on this article turned after Kate Swaffer made her comment. Thank you Kate and others with dementia who commented on this article. Hey Celebrity, how about some awareness training for your staff?”


Elderly passenger with dementia forced off Celebrity Millennium cruise ship at Yorkeys Knob

A CRUISE company has defended forcing an elderly passenger with dementia to leave a ship while it was docked at Yorkeys Knob.

Adry Arnold, 78, and her husband were sailing on Celebrity Millennium last month and were told they were not allowed back aboard because the ship’s doctor was concerned for Mrs Arnold’s safety.

Mrs Arnold’s story has gone viral after her nephew Don Stones posted a complaint on his Facebook page.

His post has been shared more than 5200 times on the social media website. “I posted it not only because they are my family, but because no one should (treat someone) like that and be allowed to get away with it,” he said.

Mr Stones said his aunt was forced to stand at Yorkeys Knob marina with her and her husband’s suitcases because she was not able to find her way back to her cabin.

“She was staying on board while her husband went to view Cairns while the ship was docked,” he said.

“On his arrival back from sightseeing he was met by his wife and told they were not allowed back on the ship because the doctor did not think they were the kind of people who should be on the cruise … if she was left alone.”

Mrs Arnold was found by the ship’s staff while trying to find her cabin and she was upset and crying, Mr Stones wrote.

“The couple, on the pension mind you, paid over $12,000 for the cruise, which will probably be the last one they will be able to go on together (and) had to find their own way back to their home,” he wrote.

“This is a disgusting way to treat anybody, let alone an elderly couple, without even trying to resolve the issue at hand.”

A Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman said staff felt it was “necessary to disembark” Mrs Arnold after she was found disoriented on the ship.

“Mrs Arnold was escorted to the ship’s onboard medical facility while attempts were made to contact Mr Arnold, who was ashore and could not be reached,” she said.

“Regrettably, since we were concerned for Mrs Arnold’s safety and wellbeing while aboard the ship, particularly in a cabin with its own balcony, we felt it was necessary to disembark her.”

The spokeswoman said the ship’s care team arranged transport from the ship to Cairns Hospital.

“Mr and Mrs Arnold will receive a pro-rata refund for the remaining nine days of their sailing, as well as full refund of the monies paid for their second cruise,” she said.

“We apologise if they have not yet received their refund and we are working with their travel agent to ensure that it is processed quickly.”


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8 thoughts on “Dementia friendly???

  1. Oh my gosh-that is absolutely disgusting behaviour and those people should of been allowed to go on the cruise-the reason why there is a doctor on the cruise ship is so the doctor can treat patients if they feel unwell on the boat and be there if there is any emergency-this is discrimination towards the elderly and those who are experiencing misfortune-that family is definetly one of the most deserving families for a cruise-i have been on a cruise before and cruises are a very safe enviroment. The husband sounds very selfless and she IS fine to be on the cruise if she is accompained however i do agree that you can get lost on cruises but you can always find them. We had a similar scenario to these people in December last year but fortunately ours was a happy ending and very positive. We were at bay of islands for christmas and Grandad wandered in the night and thankfully he(or they)ask him who his wife was-they were very efficient and took him back to his room-it was traumatic for my Grandma but thankfully i slept through it and very relieved that it was very short. When you have a relative with a terminal illness like Dementia or Cancer-you should understand that there life spam is very limited so people should understand that they have limited time together and they want to cherish every moment they spend together. Staff on cruise ships need to be trained to help people with illnesses or disabilities. When i was on my cruise there were countless people on walkers or with a disability or some sort of health issue so it is very normal to find people on cruises with some sort of health issue or disability-just some people need to be accepting of that. I hope they reflect on there behaviour and rectify this situation and learn from that event and be more empathetic towards people with illnesses or disabilities and i hope they are accountable for what happened. Thank you for sharing this story and good to know about this awful case.


  2. I’m afraid it doesn’t really look like we’ve come very far have we? This is a beautiful example of inhumane discrimination wrapped in the obfuscating and self serving cocoon of expressed concern for the safety and wellbeing of the customer. Now, I admit that I don’t know the full stor,y but I can make my guesses. It all has its genesis in fear and loathing of those who are ‘other’, ‘less than’, the ‘them’ in ‘us and them’. I’m not going to hold my breath to hear news of an apology from Celebrity Millenium, a full refund and recompense for pain and suffering. Where on earth is compassion, support, customer service? Well folks … don’t get old, don’t get dementia … we don’t want you here … go away. You know, the scary thing is that the company thinks that they can simply defend this crappy behaviour. They should cringe at their lack of compassion and simple humanity. Has no one heard of a quiet and reassuring arm to hold on to while ‘we see what we can sort out?


    • As always, thank you for your very thoughtful reply. This hideous but very insightful example of discrimination and stigma, against people with dementia, shows clearly how far we have to go, and how it really is for us! Such a sad example of ‘humanity’…


  3. I am sometimes accused of being melodramatic. Following the death of Nelson Mandela, I see apartheid everywhere. First I wondered if it applied to the division between rich and poor in UK. Now, I wonder if there is a danger of it being applied to people with dementia. As a fiction writer I can all too easily visualise a dystopia where people with dementia are confined to particular places, can no longer work, have limited social life…oh, wait, that dystopia is already here.


  4. This is totally unbelievable, Kate! My husband has Lewy Body dementia and we are booked on a European river cruise next year. I would be appalled if we were to meet with such treatment. Thanks for you advocacy. How can your voice be heard by those who need to be educated?


    • I am hoping our national body advocates with me… all we can do as individuals it stand up and speak out!! I sincerely hope you have a better experience next year. If there is any news beyond todays blog, I will of course report it here. Take care…


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