We are always glad to hear about other organisations which offer services to people who are living with dementia, so we were excited to hear about Dementia Adventure. Dementia Adventure is an award winning social enterprise and registered charity committed to helping people living with dementia to get outdoors, connect with nature, themselves and their community, and retain a sense of adventure in their lives.
One of the ways they do this is by arranging small group short breaks and holidays for people living with dementia. The person living with dementia is accompanied on the holiday by someone they know well – a partner, family member, friend or carer. Each couple is supported by a trained Dementia Adventure team member throughout the break—an extra pair of hands for the person living with dementia and for their carer, someone who is there to help as little or as much as required.
The holidays themselves range from staying on a working farm on the Isle of Wight, walking in the Lake District or sailing in Devon or off the Suffolk coast. Each break has a fully designed itinerary with planned trips and activities for the person living with dementia and their carer to enjoy together. Accommodation is selected to be high quality and dementia friendly and most breaks are suitable for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.
We heard about Dementia Adventure from Steve, a Share and Care client and the main carer for his partner Viv, who has early onset dementia. He and Viv have enjoyed 2 – so far! – Dementia Adventure breaks and we caught up with them to hear how it all went.
Steve told us: “It was fantastic. I have never sailed before so it was a real experience to live on board a boat for 5 days. We sailed up the Suffolk coast on a lovely old sailing boat – it was so peaceful that we were accompanied for some of the way by a porpoise! Viv loved being in the open air and steering the boat…”
One of the main advantages of these holidays is that they offer the opportunity for the person living with dementia and their carer to enjoy a proper break. “As a carer every day can feel the same. It was good to get out of the normal routine, as well as to be able to talk to people who understand the challenges of living with someone with dementia. I don’t often get the chance to kick my shoes off.”
Holidays can be tricky for those living with dementia; being in unfamiliar surroundings and interacting with new people can be challenging. All too easily carers can find themselves frequently apologising to other holidaymakers and stress levels can actually increase. Because Dementia Adventure block book venues there is no pressure to “keep up appearances” and each couple is surrounded by people who understand what it is to live with dementia.
As Steve says “We have enjoyed 2 very different holidays now. The first was on a working farm on the Isle of Wight. Viv loved hugging the llamas and the sheepdogs were completely soppy and used to being made a fuss of. The farmer and his wife provided the most delicious, fresh food – a word of advice – don’t go on a Dementia Adventure holiday if you are looking to lose weight!”
For further information about Dementia Adventure and the holidays they provide (as well as details of the financial support they may be able to offer to those in need of help towards the cost), please click here http://www.dementiaadventure.co.uk/