Sunday 16 June 2013

Dementia and the logistics of trying to attend a family wedding.

I've just been set an interesting challenge. One of my cousin's daughters is to marry in September, Mum and I, have been invited to attend. How do I get Mum, living in Sussex, to the wedding, in Yorkshire? Where can we stay?

Mum can't mobilise, so spends the day, either in bed or in her wheelchair. The wedding venue would need to be able to cater for her requirements. Can they?

I've sent an email to them asking about accessibility, the availability of disabled toilets, and suitable accommodation. In so far as accessibility is concerned, they have confirmed that lifts and ramps are available throughout the hotel. They also have disabled access rooms, and one disabled toilet in the public areas. Wheelchair space can be made available in the dining facilities. Disabled accommodation is however sparse, and early booking is recommended.

The venue is a hotel, golf course and country club, licensed to perform Civil Ceremonies and partnerships. I am unable to carry out a recce of the accommodation before the wedding, and it would not be feasible, or indeed fair to Mum, to turn up on the day, only to find the accommodation totally unsuitable.

What are the issues?

Mum needs wheelchair access. - This is available throughout the venue.
Mum needs suitable accommodation. - Whilst available, the are only a few rooms.
Mum needs help eating and drinking. - I would help with this, so no issues.
Mum has continence issues. - A commode would be needed in the room – portable commodes are readily available, so again no issues.
Mum would really need a profile bed with a pressure relief mattress. - The rooms have standard beds.
Mum would need to be transported to and from Yorkshire. - I don't have a wheelchair adapted car, and the journey, in one go, would probably be too much for her.

If the venue cannot provide all of the right facilities, is there a solution?

Having considered the issues, and all the logistics involved, I decided to carry out a little research. If the venue cannot provide all the right facilities, can we take those facilities with us? Initially, this may sound a little drastic, but it's not as drastic as it first appears.

There are, available for hire, a number of suitably adapted motorhomes. They have either wheelchair ramps, or lifts, wheelchair accessible wet rooms, profile beds, and in some cases, ceiling hoists. One of these motorhomes would solve many issues in one fell swoop. It would get us from where live in Sussex, to the wedding venue in Yorkshire. It would provide suitable accommodation for Mum, and alleviate any concerns about the hotel accommodation being unsuitable.

With one of these motorhomes, rather than travelling all the way in one day, we'd be able stop and rest, at a suitable caravan park, along the way.

Once at the venue however, there is another issue. Would we be able to locate the motorhome in the hotel's car park? I doubt it. Fortunately, there is a caravan park within just a few miles of the venue, so that may be the ideal option. We would however need transport between the two, in the form of a wheelchair adapted taxi. Again, fortunately, with both the venue and the park being close to Hull, such taxi services are available.

If the motorhome was hired for a week, we'd be able to slowly make our way back home during the following few days, stopping off at various caravan parks along the way. Turning the problem of attending the wedding, into a nice little break, away from home, for the both of us.

One final advantage of such a motorhome for us, is that we'd be able to take both our little parrot, and two budgies, with us. A great little adventure for all.

All I have to do now, is actually make it happen!


  1. Hi, nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas, its not just entertaining but also gives your reader knowledge. Good blogs style too, Cheers!
    When caring for an elderly friend or family member who has cognitive impairment, you can’t allow your own physical and emotional needs to fall by the wayside.

    - Seniors Alzheimers Care Boston MA