Everyone enjoys a holiday but as people get older or have a disability, knowing where to find appropriate holiday accommodation can be difficult. Putting some thought into what you want and need before you make the phone call or book a holiday will ensure that your holiday plans will be more enjoyable.
An elderly or disabled person seeking holiday accommodation needs to explain clearly when considering booking exactly what their care needs are. Never assume that the person on the end of the phone knows!
For example, wheelchair accessibility may be fine, however what if you do not use a wheelchair but your mobility is poor with reference to flat access and ground floor room availability?
Do you need to ask about a floor level shower or hoist facilities? Is there a raised toilet facility or an alarm system in case you need help? Are the staff trained to help or do you need to have a carer or use family/friends help? If you are blind or deaf, is information available in Braille or is there a member of staff who can use sign language? If you need to take a carer with you, ask if there is a reduction in the price for your carer.
There are organisations that provide a range of holiday information for elderly and disabled people; organisations such as:
Age UK has a section on their website entitled holidays for the older traveller.
Arthritis Care have a PDF entitled how to plan your holiday.
Traveleyes is an independent world travel organisation for blind and visually impaired people. Destinations are worldwide. Further information on 08709 220221.
If you enjoy caravanning take a look at the website of Caravan Sitefinder. They have details of the disabled facilities at over 956 caravan sites in the UK and the sites have feedback from previous holiday makers. The website is: http://www.caravansitefinder.co.uk
Also, before you set out on a journey you can check the situation on the roads by visiting the Frixo road traffic reporting site which provides live traffic information and gets updated every 3 minutes using various road sensors.
Many elderly or disabled people wishing to retain holiday independence but needing some care whilst they are on holiday choose to take a live-in carer with them. A companion for the holiday but also providing any help and care that is needed. Able Community Care provides holiday carers who are happy to accompany a person to places in the UK and worldwide.
One of our clients, Margaret Turner, to whom we have been providing continuous 24 hour live-in care since late 1995, has kindly written to us about the holidays she has enjoyed with one of our carers. With her permission, we are pleased to publish her letter here:
"After spending almost all of 1995 in hospital with spinal problems, I never thought I would be able to go on holiday ever again. However, I had a very good regular Carer who learnt from my family how I had always enjoyed holidaying. From then on, with encouragement from my Carer and family, it was not so much of "if and how" but "where and when".
We chose Israel for our first trip, flying from London to Tel Aviv then onto an adapted coach where I sat in my own wheelchair for all our many outings. After this, the bug had truly bitten.
My Carer and I have been on holiday with my family, disabled clubs and on our own in this country and abroad: Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Cyprus several times, Holland, Spain, Portugal, cruised around the Greek Islands, and as far as Lebanon and Turkey where we "walked" the Marble Road.
My Carer and I have travelled by plane, train, car, coach, ferry, cruise ship, Eurostar, shuttle, French railways, cable car (Austria), helicopter and glider. Haven't tried as yet, hot air balloon, but you never know! Nothing is impossible with a good help.
Regards, Margaret Turner."