As a caregiver, you are focused on making sure that your loved one is safe, comfortable and enjoying his or her travel as much as possible. But if you have never booked a cruise before, then you might not be aware of some of the information which could make the cruise much less stressful and also much more enjoyable for both you and your loved one. Following a few simple tips from other travelers who are also caregivers will help to make your first cruise a fabulous experience for both you and your loved one.
When Booking Accommodations
When booking for you and your spouse, it might be best to request a cabin with two beds rather than a single larger bed. This can make it easier for both of you as there is often very little floor space around a single large bed. This also can make it easier to maneuver using a walker or cane. If you wish to have separate cabins or some private space for you and some for your loved one, then booking a suite or adjoining cabins is a good idea. This allows you to assist or check on your loved one without having to exit your cabin and walk through the common hallways, which can be inconvenient late at night or in the early morning. It is also recommended that you call the cruise line to verify any special accessibility or features that your loved one will need in the cabin and bathroom such as safety rails, larger doorways or even a wheelchair accessible table in the cabin.
A Few Familiar Items
It can also be helpful and comforting for your loved one to have a few familiar items in his or her cabin. Some favorite music to listen to, a favorite book and even a special quilt can be nice ways to help settle into the new surroundings. Also be certain to bring any accessories which your loved one uses at home to be more independent such as a “grabber” tool for items dropped on the floor or a magnifying sheet if reading fine print has become difficult.
Plan Activities Carefully and Prioritize
If you know that there are special activities that your loved one is interested in, be sure to book these as early as possible. Also, inquire about any accessibility issues that you might need to work around to participate in the activities. There are sure to be other interesting activities that you discover while on the cruise but be sure not to overbook and exceed your loved one’s normal activity level. Trying to do too much on the first day or two of a cruise often results in spending the following few days resting up and missing out on activities. Also, remember that after a long day filled with activities and excitement, a trip to the dining room might be exhausting. Take advantage of room service for a few meals to have added time to relax away from the crowds.
Careful planning and a relaxed schedule will provide the most enjoyable cruise experience for your loved one and eliminate any added stress to your caregiving responsibilities.