Advice on Holidays for disabled and their carers

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Hello,

My name is Tajinder Chaudhry. I have been working in the Travel and Tourism industry for more than 15 years.

I'm a carer to my grandmother who loves to travel has recently become wheelchair bound. Despite of my 15 Years experience and contacts in the travel and tourism industry, I have faced difficulties in making travel arrangements for her holidays. I found that the limited choices available in the market are quite expensive, and fail to meet all special needs requirements. And I wondered if other carers or special needs travellers may have faced similar challenges ?

Travelling for the purpose of relaxation and having a good time is as much a human right for a disabled person as it is for a non-disabled person. Using my 15 years experience and contacts in travel and tourism industry, I am developing specialized affordable holidays for people with special needs.

To put these packages together, I would like your help in understanding —
* What methods you use to choose and search for your holidays? And if you prefer travelling within UK or abroad?
* What are your or your companion’s essential requirements while on a holidays ?

If you have already been, or thinking of going on a holiday, and can share your requirements, experiences and challenges to help me build appropriate holidays which meets real needs and solve actual problems, it will be appreciated.

You can reply on this forum or you may contact me directly on tajch12345@gmail.com if you wish to help me out in this.

I would love to keep you all updated of my progress and development on this research.
We have to find somewhere that has a ceiling hoist, a profilling bed and care workers who can come in to get my son out of bed (our Social Work department will pay for the care workers). We also need a room for our son with a large turning space for his powered wheelchair and lots of sockets so that we can charge my son's powerchair, his back up battery for his ventilator, his spare back up vent and my mobility scooter. We need a socket next to my son's bed for his ventilator (which he uses 24/7) to be plugged into overnight so that he can breathe.
We have had 2 holidays in the UK one in York (Newlands Farm in Selby has adapted cottages) and one in Mansfield (we stayed in a disabled college) as this was the nearest accomodation we could get to Leicester where our son wanted to visit the National Space Centre .
We use the CHUC website to try and identify places which have ceiling hoists and then work from there. Our problem is that we need to find things that entertain my 29 year old son and some of the places are for elderly people or sometimes they are in the middle of nowhere.
I suppose the fact that we have been to Florida 4 times (the last being 11 years ago) spoils us for anything in the UK. Nothing here compares to Florida. We can't go anymore as Robert has a vent, a back up vent, an eating vent and a back up battery (all very heavy) and also an air mattress to avoid pressure sores.
I am disabled also and you can't always rely on me getting an electric scooter in the parks so there would be no one to push me.
My son is very worried about taking his powerchair onto an airplane plus the last time we were there a combination of the flight time and sleeping in a normal mattress gave him pressure sores which took months to get rid of when we came home so have to accept (regrettably because we all loved it) that Florida is now out of the question for us unless we can overcome all these obstacles.
We used the services of Wheelchair Getaways in Florida to hire a van with a tailgate lift for the 2 weeks and we hired a villa privately and the owner no longer has it. Then we sorted out the flights ourselves. It was a very expensive holiday.

Hope this helps

Eun
Dear Eun, reading of your horrendous challenges in getting Rob a holiday, what struck me is this - (and I say beforehand, please do excuse me if what I suggest is utterly hopeless, and only shows my ignorance of the difficulties of your son's situation, and those in similar situations).....

Would it be feasible for families such as yours to have the use of something along the lines of a specially converted RV (Recreational Vehicle - those mega 'caravans' or whatever the nearest equivalent is!, that are so popular in the USA). The RV could have all the equipment you vividly describe that Rob needs, but have the advantage of being mobile. That way, maybe you could all 'live' on the RV, whilst also driving it around, both this country and maybe abroad in France/Europe as well?

If what I've speculated is in the slightest feasible in terms of being medically suitable in the first place, then if such a vehicle were funded, either by charity or the state (!), then families could book it for a 'week at a time' or whatever, to drive wherever they want and get some time away from the constraints of home.

Anyway, just a thought, and my apologies if I'm just 'yet one more person' who comes up with a 'bright idea!' that is completely impossible and inappropriate.

As ever, my regards to you, and I wish you all well that can possibly be so given the situation you and your family are in.....

Jenny
I love the sunshine, and now fly to Crete for holidays. I have arthritis in my hands and shoulders, plus two knee replacements, which are generally fine. Even for me, flying could be made much more user friendly. I always go for priority boarding, to avoid the crush, but carefully going up the steep steps into the aircraft with people in front of and behind me is always daunting. In this day and age, I'm sure it should be possible to have something on the lines of a mobile escalator? I went to the Isle of Wight a few years ago. Left my car on the car deck, then had to climb two flights of stairs with the aid of a walking stick. Fortunately on that day, I was accompanied by a friend who was a nurse, and she held the other passengers back so I could slowly climb the stairs with the aid of my walking stick. Happily, that ferry has now been replaced by one with a lift, but being presented unexpectedly with a steep set of stairs, or a lift that doesn't work, really affects the confidence. The legislation requiring reasonable adjustments and access to facilities still isn't being implemented enough.
Your idea is a good one Jenny for people who use a manual wheelchair but I don't think it would work for us due to the amount of equipment we have that needs to be plugged in and charged. Plus if we were driving all over how would we get careworkers coming in to get son up if we didn't know where we were going to be. Good try though!
Eun
xxxx
Ah well, I thought it couldn't be that simple..... :(

In terms of the power requirements though for the equipment, I think that in the USA at least, the RV parks allow the vehicles to plug in to the mains supply. I can remember in Greece seeing RVs (not as giant as the US ones - mostly full of Germans who had driven down to the Med overland!) parked by the coast just by a hotel, and there were overhead cables slung from the hotel to the vehicles, presumably having done a deal with the hotel owner to buy their mains electricity while they were parked.

The careworkers, however, are a trickier business - unless they came on holiday with you in their own RV! Which gets a bit complicated.....

As ever, I wish you all the best that is possible given the extreme difficulty of your situation.....

With kind regards, Jenny