In May 2014, my husband Martin and I went on a London barge sailing break organised by Dementia Adventure. We had always travelled a lot and even after Martin had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 2012, we continued holidaying both at home and abroad. But as much as i enjoyed the breaks, I was very aware of the additional stress that such trips were putting on me and in my search for ways to extend our travelling days I found Dementia Adventure.
Having booked the trip I then had several misgivings and came close to cancelling right upto the last minute. I was apprehensive about whether Martin would enjoy it, how would we manage his sometimes difficult behaviour in close proximity to others, was it safe etc etc. However I should not have been concerned. There were four people living with dementia (all men by coincidence) and their accompanying friend or family member, plus four support staff from Dementia Adventure plus the captain and two crew members. Everybody was there to offer support in a million different ways.
Martin was probably the least able to help sailing the barge, but still visibly enjoyed the fresh air, the scenery and the sociability of our five days on board. We had a few challenges to overcome but I always felt supported and helped and there was always a lot of laughter. We had a lovely holiday, helped by glorious weather, and I shall always be glad that I didn't cancel our break and that we had the experience of a lifetime sailing a London barge along the Essex coast....just brilliant.
- Janet is a trusteee of YoungDementia UK. You can read her and Martin's story here.