Wednesday 25 January 2012

Three generation holidays

At this time of year, many people are planning holidays. This post is about the practicalities of going on holiday with a frail person. It is not about going on holiday when Granny is able to babysit and walk up mountains. I'm sure there may be issues with this sort of holiday but I'm not qualified to talk about this!

Holidays can be fun but there is no right to go away. It is a truism but it doesn't always feel like that when everyone else is packing and it seems that we are the only ones left. It is a minor thing to upset our contentment but I know that I have struggled with this. Paul says
I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Philippians 4v11

Many families take an elderly relative on holiday. Where the older person lives permanently with their younger family, it seems reasonable, in many ways that they should come on the family holiday; after all they are part of the family. It may also seem reasonable, to the younger generations, that they should have a break from caring.

We have had

  • holidays with an older relative
  • non-family carers to stay
  • family members stay behind
This is just about the first option.

A holiday with a frail or disabled person takes more planning. These are issues that will need to be addressed.
  • Is the person concerned fit to go on holiday? People with dementia may get much more confused away from home. Has their doctor advised against them going away for any reason?
  • Travel-most people are fit to go away but may not manage a long car journey. If they are relatively fit, they may manage better on a train but this isn't an easy option for people who walk but are unstable.
  • Travel again-taking an older relative may mean taking a second car, with additional petrol costs and taking away possibilities of sharing driving. Again, shorter distances may be better.
  • Journeys will take longer-frailer people are unlikely to be able to travel at night/very early in the morning and will require more stops. Again, a reason not to go too far away and to take plenty to occupy little people on the trip.
  • The property is likely to need a ground floor bedroom with an en suite bathroom. 
  • Steps to the property can be a no, no.
  • Day of travel-it may be easier to travel on a Friday as the roads may be quieter and it is easier for the less fit members of the party to be able to go to church on the Sunday.
  • Is there a good church close to the property? It is so refreshing to have spiritual blessing on holiday. Travelling a few miles to a holiday church isn't an issue for the young and fit but may be an issue for those for whom the journey has been a major endeavour.
Once on holiday, it can be difficult to balance everyone's needs. Prayer for a right attitude from everyone is really important.

 We have found that everyone enjoys meals out and the beach-it is worth trying to plan these into the programme.

 It isn't necessary to spend all the time together but don't assume that because someone is less fit they want to be left behind. Some of our most successful trips have been where everyone travels to the same location but divides into groups on arrival.

Some practical tips
  • Don't prolong days out. Children and teenagers with plenty of energy can go for nightwalks/read/play games in the evening. 
  • Think about walking distances. How far is the elder able to walk? Will it be necessary to take a wheelchair? Will the distance from the car park to the beach be further than they would normally walk? Will they manage?
  • The beach may be beautiful but are there facilities?
  • Research the area-is it somewhere with pleasant memories? Would it be an idea to go to see Great-great-grandma's house? Are there historic sites/houses to visit which cater for those who find walking difficult and provide child-friendly, interactive activities? Many National Trust and English Heritage sites would come into this category.
Happy holidays!

This is linked to Works for me Wednesday.

1 comment:

  1. Great post again, Sarah. Holidays are not a "right". Grin. I wish they were, I might have had more.