Holidays don’t have to be a thing of the past…

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Just because you’re over 90 and living with dementia doesn’t mean that you still can’t enjoy some holiday fun.

The thrill of a holiday and a well-deserved break away from it all is something we all look forward to. It’s no different for people living with dementia.  A holiday can  provide new experiences, conjure up old memories and give a welcome break from everyday routines.

To ensure everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable holiday experience it’s important to plan carefully and begin preparations well in advance of the holiday date. A top priority when organising a holiday is to choose an environment that people living with dementia feel comfortable in. 

At Hadrian Park we believe the value a holiday offers residents is worth the hard work it takes to organise. Residents love their holidays and get so much out of them. In 2013 we took a group of residents to a Haven Holiday site in Haggerston Castle in Northumberland and a great time was had by all. This year we decided to try Haven’s Primrose Valley site on the north east coast. It’s a beautiful part of the country and we knew that the team at Haven would be on hand to ensure everyone had a great time.

Boats, bikes and bingo

The five residents that were able to come to Primrose Valley had a wonderful time. They chose what they wanted to eat and helped shop for the meals we prepared in the caravan. They loved both the daytime and evening activities and some danced until the early hours! The staff at the camp were very helpful and were on hand to help the ladies into the boats on the boating lake. They also tried quad biking, made clay pots, played bingo and had lots of leisurely walks in the surrounding countryside.  

It’s all in the planning

When you are accompanying people on a group holiday it’s important to start planning early. This year we started collecting tokens from a newspaper so we could secure the booking early and have plenty of time to plan. Location is a key part of our holiday decision and we always choose a destination that is within a 2 hour drive of the care home - in case we need to get back quickly.

Check out your location

We are fortunate to have access to a minibus that is owned by a sister Care UK care home so we made sure we booked it early. Before the holiday our activity co-ordinator Karen headed up to Primrose Valley to do a site visit and speak to Haven representatives about residents’ specific needs. She viewed the accommodation and was able to reserve caravans that were located near the main facilities, which meant we could minimise walking. Karen also took the opportunity to look at the available activities so we could plan our days before arriving. 

We also knew that the health and circumstances of some residents was likely to change before the holiday date, so we were prepared for lots of changes. The beauty of a caravan holiday is that we didn’t have to cancel any rooms and it meant we just had more space!

During our stay we were approached by a social worker who was on holiday with her family. She commented that she had never known a care home take residents on holiday and praised us for the wonderful job we were doing. Its comments like this that make our jobs worthwhile.

My top holiday tips 

  • Allow plenty of time to organise your holiday and be prepared for the  unexpected…
  • Arrange transport to and from your holiday in good time and plan staff cover. If you are travelling by train save money by pre-booking seats in advance using services such as Trainline.
  • Choose a holiday location that isn’t too far away. Consider selecting a holiday destination that has experience of catering for people with disabilities. Haven Holidays had a specific special needs team who helped us with planning. 
  • Conduct a thorough site visit of both the holiday site and the surrounding area. Discuss your specific requirements with the on-site holiday team, view the accommodation and see what’s on offer. A trip or phone call to the local Tourist Information Office is also worthwhile. They will be more than happy to tell you about local places of interest or events that are being held in the area you’re visiting. VisitEngland also has a comprehensive and informative website that contains lots of useful information. 
  • Arrange regular meetings with residents and their families to discuss the holiday and address any concerns. It’s a perfect opportunity to prepare residents for their upcoming trip and you can also share brochures and pictures of your holiday destination.
  • Prepare and distribute a list of holiday essentials for residents and their family members that includes suggested clothes, footwear and other items. Label clothing and make a record of the items that are packed. 
  • Ensure adequate medication is available for residents who require it and that all protocols re storage and administering are followed. Compile a list of emergency contact numbers, including locations of medical facilities in the area you are visiting.
  • Take lots of pictures of your holiday and create a memory album that residents, friends and family can enjoy.
  • Have a great time!
Open to new residents

Marsh House Avenue, Billingham, Cleveland, TS23 3DF

Hadrian Park

Hadrian Park

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club

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