Mandy on holidays abroad

Garry Lovell at Stonehenge monument, Wiltshire

Garry was always a traveller and explorer.  When he was diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease in his 40s, he decided it was time to see the places that he had always wanted to visit.  So a well planned holiday every year has been part of our lives since - it became a rule!

Becoming more adventurous

When Garry experienced a decline, we ‘tested out’ our travel ability by being part of a tour – all planned and organised for us.  That was great!  We saw Russia and the Scandinavian cities.  Garry then wanted to be more adventurous so last year it was another tour, this time of India’s north and then a driving holiday around France on our own.  After evaluating this trip, we realised we needed to think again because the stress of driving, and not pre-booking accommodation, was too much for me!  

So this year we tried train travel (avoiding traffic and getting lost) and we booked accommodation right near the railway stations.  We stayed for three nights each time so that we could settle more.  We are lucky to have family in England, who we know would help if we needed it.  That was a very useful back stop. 

Planning your holiday well is key

Travel insurance is expensive but we couldn’t travel without it.  We plan and organise well before we go. We make a deal that we slow down if it gets too much for either of us.  We have an afternoon rest most days after doing a bit of exploring.  We both have a phone on us at all times.  We are open about the dementia if we need help.  And we travel with gratitude for seeing what we are able to see.

Mandy Lovell lives in Australia.  With her husband Garry, they have established the Lovell Foundation to raise funds to create a family friendly, inclusive long term accommodation service for people diagnosed with young onset dementia.  You can read Garry's mum Jan's story here.

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