Travel and dementia

life in the gymLife in the gym – my darling husband has gone to the gym in our hotel this morning, and I probably should be there with him, but decided chatting on Facebook, twitter and writing a blog would be more fun!!! When I was young and playing a lot of squash, life in the gym used to be spectacular fun, but these days, I’d much rather walk and do some stretching or Pilates at home, plus the rehab and hydrotherapy with my Neuro-physiotherapist. And I do exercise regularly, as part of staying healthy, and also for helping to reduce the progression of dementia. But, by the look on people’s faces at the gym, they are not having much fun…

Anyway, we are in New York this week, and then Puerto Rico next week for the 29th Alzheimer’s Disease International conference, which I’m looking forward to, and especially catching up with many friends including meeting some new online ones. I’d have to say New York is an interesting experience, although I have not loved it as much as I expected to. I am however, loving being on holidays with my husband!! I’ve had a short but enforced rest from blogging as for some reason unknown to me – my youngest son would say about now, “user error” – I could not receive text messages, and I need a text message confirmation to complete the login process on WordPress. I’ve also had a short rest from social media as I cut access to the internet on my phone to save the exorbitant costs Telstra suggested via a text message they would charge!

Living with dementia is an interesting experience, to put it mildly, and it certainly makes travelling less enjoyable as it changes the experience of travel from  pure pleasure to one of increasing levels of anxiety and stress for us both. My paddling becomes much harder, as the brain power required to manage travelling is used up and not much left for anything else. New environments, different accommodation, and many other things increase the challenges of living with the symptoms of dementia when travelling, but we made a decision some time ago we would not allow it to rule our lives, and not living as well as I can with it, is not an option! There is no way I accept the prescribed disengagement, and so travelling with dementia has become part of our life, to be managed in ways that enhance not hinder our time together. ps. it was probably just as well I could not access my blog for a few days as this one is definitely a bit of a ramble!!!

23 thoughts on “Travel and dementia

  1. Like you Kate, i would give gym a miss too! Although i enjoy the rowing thing(machine?), spin bikes and exercise bike. Like you, i would much rather walk and run-i love doing them! I play table tennis but i hear squash challenging and requires a truckload of energy! Travelling with Dementia can be scary, you do worry about there health and whether there health will deteriate becuase of the trip. Last year we went up to bay of islands for christmas with Granny and Grandad(bay of islands is about 4 hours north of Auckland-it is a beautiful town-perhaps you and your Bub have been there?)but when we were there- it didn’t feel like a holiday-it was very strenuous and a lot of work and as a result of that trip my Grandad health declined dramatically. We have all agreed that he is no longer going out of Auckland now-just too difficult now unfortunately with his health. He was wandering around there and was taken his seat belt off on the way back. On a positive note-my Grandad got discharged from hospital yesterday-yay! He has returned home but is having an additional 4 hours of home help during the week and home help in the morning seven days a week. My godmother also took her person who she looked after to London twice to visit her daughter and after the second time they decided not to take her as it was a truckload of work and very demanding and strenuous. My Grandads last overseas trip was in 2014-they did a cruise round Japan and that was a disaster-he was a lot of work and got very tired and grumpy. I agree, travelling is certainly less enjoyable with Dementia.

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    • Enjoy every moment possible Sam… and play lots of table tennis, take up squash (it’s brilliant) and keep running before old bones or arthritis kick in! Glad your grandpa is home again too, spend lots of time with him xx

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  2. Hi Kate, Just read your blog of travel and dementia, I returned on the weekend from a visit to London to see family that included at trip to Lisbon. I do a lot of travelling and I take my hat off to you, don’t be too hard on yourself, airports, airlines, security are all very hard these days and often make travel difficult experience. You are amazing, keep doing what your doing.

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    • Thanks. Happy travels to us both it seems! Yes, it is hard work actually, with or without an illness. Lucky for me, I have a BUB (Back up Brain) and someone willing to handle all the luggage!

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  3. Can you blog a bit about what you are up to in NYC please? I’ve seen a few FB pics, but I’d love to hear more! Everyone’s experience of this city is different because it has so much – I love to hear it all! 🙂 x

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  4. Kate found youre blog while searching for info on dementia, as a nurse I have had limited experience with working with people and their families living with this…..at present doing a course which I am supposed to reflect on living with the experience!!! if one thing positive has come out of it is finding youre blogg!!!!!! Its fantastic, and I have to say anyone I come across in the future who has recently been diagnosed I will be putting in this direction. AS for you rambling I think this is probably degree level ramble!! Lol love it and enjoy youre break away Doreen… in England

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    • Hi Doreen, thanks for joining the conversation here. I guess you’ll find a bit about what it’s like living with dementia here!! Take care, and thanks again for reading my blog and commenting. Kate… in New York at the moment, but from Adelaide!

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  5. Your positive attitude is inspirational, Kate. My husband (who has Lewy Body dementia) and I are preparing for a European cruise in July, followed by two weeks in the UK. Last year, when we drove through the Kimberley and NT, he became extremely confused and disoriented. We are both hoping that the familiarity of the boat and spending much of our UK time in the same place will make it easier for him this time round..

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    • Thanks Penny… I must say, this trip, it is much harder than the last, and our ability to to much of the tourist ‘stuff’ has been greatly impacted. Have fun on your cruise, and in fact, you have inpired me to think about that for our next holiday as I might find it easier. A cruise ship company earlier this year demanded that a couple – the wife had deentia – leave the ship, and turfed them off mid trip! Hope your ship is more kindly and caring…

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  6. Kate – you said some great words –

    “we would not allow it to rule our lives”

    Excellent advice for ANYBODY with a disAbility or even any type of hardship.

    Keep smiling …… people will wonder what you’ve been up to!!! 😉 😉

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