A safe and supportive vacation!
We can all use a vacation, but what about traveling when your loved one has dementia? It can certainly be difficult, and that’s why Insight Memory Care Center offers a Caregiver Cruise! Both the individual with a dementia diagnosis and their caregiver attend, making the program possibly the first of its kind in the country. In addition to the many benefits a cruise offers – the chance for a vacation, seeing new sights, a getaway – the caregiver cruise provides families with a chance to vacation in a safe and supportive environment.
Insight’s first Caregiver Cruise was offered in 2015. We sailed aboard the Grandeur of the Seas down to the Bahamas, allowing 8 couples to enjoy Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay, and Key West. In June 2016 we took another 8 couples on our second annual cruise to New England and Canada. Families enjoyed stops in Boston, Portland, St. John’s, and Halifax. For our third annual cruise this past June, caregivers enjoyed the sunny beaches of Bermuda! We took a glass bottom boat tour, got our toes in the pink sand beaches, and explored the city of Hamilton. We also had some time for shopping, sampling rum cake, and taking advantage of all the amenities onboard the Anthem of the Seas.
A highlight for cruise participants is that Insight does all the planning and preparation. Families and caregivers can just show up and enjoy! One caregiver said:
“The caregiver cruise has been a wonderful experience for my husband and me. We were able to come on a glorious vacation, and the events were planned for us, we had wonderful companions, and we just had a really good time!”
The success of the cruise depends on a caring and compassionate staff that takes into consideration the couples who are attending. Insight staff starts planning the cruise months in advance, taking care of all of the details, including the itinerary, the shore excursions, and the therapeutic activities that are provided on days at sea. However, often the best part of the cruise is the company and the support shared between caregivers. One caregiver shared:
“This turned out to be the happiest trip – vacation – I’ve ever had in my life… all the people were so much fun, I feel like everybody that’s on the cruise with us is now like one family.”
Caregivers and participants alike appreciate the opportunity to vacation in a supportive environment. Many dinner conversations turn to caregiving stories and tips, as new friendships are formed. Even though some caregivers come by themselves, and others come with spouses in the early to moderate stages, everyone found support through a group where the disease doesn’t have to be explained – everyone just gets it. One participant shared at the end of this past cruise:
“Thank you, those of you who are working to support us - those of us who are working to try and realize what we’re up against and the support that you provide to us, we thank you.”
We are in the process of planning for our 2018 Caregiver Cruise! Please talk to Christi Clark at 703-204-4664 or email@example.com if you would like more information.