What’s involved in travelling with special needs? Having disability(physical or mental) doesn’t mean an individual can no longer enjoy meaningful activities or be deprived of freedom to see the world.

Last summer I embarked on an unforgettable cruise with my 89-year-old aunt who suffers from dementia. Dementia is a serious problem faced by Canada’s aging population. Travelling with an individual with dementia can be challenging. While it is true, it’s also rewarding.

Cruising with Dementia

Cruising is one of the best forms of travel for an individual with dementia. It’s slow pace travel in a ‘mobile’ resort that offers many options, be it food or activities. Individuals can also opt to visit local attractions at various ports of call on offshore excursions.

Should an individual with dementia needs to rest between activities, the cabin is available anytime. There are plenty of food choices catering to virtually all diets and taste buds.

Most cruise lines offer handicap rooms, which tend to be larger than the regular cabins as well as door-to-door wheelchair services. Handicap rooms are limited, so book early.

RFID bands for tracking are available for rent from most cruise lines too. If you need mobility or respiratory equipment while at sea, they are available for rent through Special Needs Group or Care Vacations.

Life does not stop on the onset of dementia

There many misconceptions that the rhythm of life stops on the onset of dementia.
My adventures taught me that having dementia doesn’t mean an individual can no longer enjoy meaningful activities like travel; but emotional readiness and careful planning is necessary to ensure safety and fun for everyone involved.

The cruise with my aunt provided a deeper understanding of dementia, and greater appreciation of dementia caregivers. To read more, click on Cruising with Dementia.


Travelling with Disabilites

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US Passports & International Travel
US Dept. of Homeland Security

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