Alaska: Why Not?
Life presents challenges to all of us, but for Annabelle, who has Parkinson’s, every day is a challenge to be overcome. When she wanted to go on a cruise to Alaska, we were determined to make it happen.
Cruises are often ideal vacations for someone with Parkinson’s. The schedule is leisurely, handicapped cabins are available, and it avoids multiple hotel changes common to other tour groups. Our client, Annabelle K., and her team of caregivers set sail out of Seattle, Washington and embarked on a seven-night adventure through Alaska. There’s no way to deny it, the Celebrity Solstice’s June 2013 Alaskan cruise was a big success.
Annabelle and her three caregivers flew to Seattle from Philadelphia on June 6. (Don’t forget to bring your passport, a photo ID and your sea pass, should you decide on taking a cruise.) The next day they were at sea. Their first Alaskan port was Ketchikan. Other ports they docked at were Tracy Arm Ford, Juneau, Skagway, and then on to Canada and beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. When back in Seattle with new and exciting visions in their heads, the group discussed how each day had offered an unforgettable memory: a seal birthing on the ice, glaciers and mountains, and remnants of Alaska’s Russian legacy. No wonder Alaska is called the “Great Land.”
Afraid of Taking A Cruise? Fear No More.
Here are a few tips to ease your inhibitions:
Phobia: The cabin is so tiny.
Solution: Pay for a larger cabin with a view. Handicapped accessible cabins (usually larger) are available too.
Phobia: You’re afraid you’ll get seasick.
Solution: There are many over-the-counter and prescription remedies for dealing with seasickness. Because of the large size of the cruise ships, they are usually very stable.
Phobia: Too much food and gaining weight.
Solution: Choose sit-down dining instead of cafeteria style meals or buffets to prevent over-eating.
Tips for Traveling with Someone with Parkinson’s Disease:
- Pack all meds and an ID card stating that the person you are with has PD in the carry-on bag. Carry-on baggage should also contain health insurance cards, doctors’ names and phone numbers and a collapsible cup for water so pills can be easily taken when needed.
- Don’t forget incontinence supplies if necessary.
- Carry a supply of snacks and a carton of drinks for the person to have when taking medication.
- The person with PD should rest on the day before leaving and the day after arriving. It will also help if he or she drinks plenty of fluids on the days before and after traveling. This will allow the person to drink less on the day of travel and reduce the number of visits to the bathroom.If there is a time change at different destinations, medications should be taken as prescribed, with the same number of hours between doses.
- Pace the itinerary so the person with PD does not get overtired and immobile. It is a good idea to plan no more than one or two special events each day. Don’t start the days too early. Allow extra time for dressing, eating and walking in unfamiliar settings.
Nothing Beats Fun!
Choose a cruise as a great way to enjoy the fresh ocean air, watch glorious sunsets (in June you may have to wait until 11:00 PM!) and relax in the cool sea breezes with miles and miles of ocean as far as you can see.
Complete Care Solutions helps to make dreams come true. We can plan, coordinate, and accompany clients with health care challenges on a fun and sun trip, which, like Annabelle, will become a memory of a lifetime.
Life is for living! Let us help make your dream a reality.
Call us at 610-265-4300.
Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies