Feeling stuck at home? Here’s a guide to dementia-friendly travel with your loved one. You can do it!

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Five great vacation homes-away-from-home for you and your relative with dementia.

When it comes to offering the services required for safe vacationing with a dementia patient, the U.K. is years ahead of most countries. It’s critically important that caregivers, who are often on call 24 hours a day, get a break for their own health and sanity. For that reason–not to mention the breathtaking scenery, historic tours and R+R potential–consider going across the pond for your next vacation. Here are five U.K. destinations we love. 

Buchanhaven Cottage, Orkney Islands, Scotland

How Buchanhaven Cottage makes it easier for caregivers:

• Owner/manager Marilyn Buchan is a nurse recognized for her dementia-care advocacy, and offers respite care (for an extra charge)

• Open-plan living/kitchen so you can watch your charge while fixing a meal or tea

• High-contrast colours and big labels for doors and bathroom fixtures; child-lock kitchen cupboards

Why you’d want to visit:

Beautifully rugged, the Orkney Islands are a history-steeped wildlife haven. Visit an archeological site or museum, trout fish in a loch or just enjoy a cuppa with the free-range hens that forage in Buchanhaven’s fenced-in backyard.

Price: Starts at £180 ($300 U.S. approximately) per weekend

Outstanding features:

• Idyllic setting a 10-minute walk from the town of Kirkwall

• Fully equipped cottage for a relaxed, self-catering experience: live like a local!

• Welcome basket of locally made artisan soaps and Orkney foods

The Old Chapel, Ireby, Cumbria, in England’s Northern Lake District

How The Old Chapel makes it easier for caregivers:

• Property is accessible, with conveniences including electronic tilting bed and a rise-and-recline chair

• Owners operate a local elder daycare, which guests can join for the day

Why you’d want to visit:

Charming Ireby (population 300) is a quiet village just north of a national park. Stroll the countryside, and meet locals at the theatre, pub, farm or annual folk-music festival.

Price: £500 ($830 U.S. approximately) per week; sleeps up to six guests in two bedrooms

Outstanding features:

• Cool historic venue. Painstakingly renovated, the stone chapel dates back to 1878

• Outdoorsy location close to lakes and mountains

• Option to self-cater or B&B

Five Oaks Care Hotel, Hadley Wood, England

How Five Oaks makes it easier for caregivers:

• Respite-care hotel

Each guest has a personalized 24-hour care plan 

• Dementia patients get their own lounge and enjoy programs if desired

• Doctor on call

Why you’d want to visit:

While London is not necessarily the best choice for Alzheimer’s patients, it’s one of the world’s great cities. When a stop is on the agenda – either because of travel plans or your need for a mid-vacation breather – consider this respite-care hotel in the borough of Enfield, just a half-hour tube ride from the theatre district. (Note: Caregivers lodge elsewhere.)

Price: £135 ($225 U.S. approximately) per night; includes food, laundry and 24-hour care

Outstanding features:

• A luxury seniors’ residence that also operates as respite-care hotel

• The “hotel experience” is enhanced with high-end décor, menu choices, a licensed bar and no set visiting hours

• Right on the Piccadilly tube line, so you can pop by to share a meal before or after your own city exploring 

Waterbeach Lodge, Cambridge, England 

How Waterbeach Lodge makes it easier for caregivers:

• Respite-care hotel

• Each guest has a personalized 24-hour care plan

• Emergency call system in each room

Why you’d want to visit:

Historic Cambridge offers a wealth of cultural and historic attractions. Low-key walking tours are a nice way to explore as a family. With respite care, caregivers can explore the region’s culinary, entertainment and nightlife options, too, or head to London, about one hour away. (Note: Caregivers lodge elsewhere.)

Price: £135 ($225 U.S. approximately) per night; includes food, laundry and 24-hour care

Outstanding features:

• Historic property on six acres of landscaped gardens

• Spacious barrier-free rooms with adjustable orthopedic beds and wheelchair-accessible en-suite baths

• Entertainment and activities

Vitalise all-inclusive vacations, in Essex, Southport and Southampton, England

How Vitalise makes it easier for caregivers:

• Wheelchair-accessible ensuites with showers

• Emergency call system in each room

• 24-hour nursing staff

Why you’d want to visit here:

Capitalizing on some of England’s finest country and seaside, these Alzheimer’s Week vacation breaks are geared at patients and their caregivers. Activities and excursions keep everyone busy; caregivers have ample time for solo R&R.

Price: From £549 ($910 U.S. approximately) per week

Outstanding features:           

• Organized entertainment and activities, from sightseeing and shopping to karaoke, bingo, crafts and fitness

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