For the first week of December, I was lucky enough to join a Dementia Adventure holiday as a volunteer on the Isle of Wight.

There were four people living with dementia, along with their spouses, the adventure leader and two other volunteers. 

This is a typical holiday set up for Dementia Adventure, a charity that has been specialising in holidays for people living with dementia for the past 15 years. 

It was a wonderful experience and I thought I would share some of my key takeaways as to what makes a holiday actually feel like a holiday for those involved.

I joined Dementia Adventure as a trustee just over a year ago so I had been looking forward to getting involved in a holiday and experiencing for myself the impact of the charity.

Although I have worked in the care sector for many years now and have learnt a lot about dementia there is always more to learn. I was delighted to see the positive impact that the charity has for its guests. 

I was so impressed by the indomitable patience of one of the carers whose wife, if it were not for him, would have been seen as someone with challenging behaviour. I laughed, I chatted, I sang and most of all I listened.

Although I would recommend a Dementia Adventure holiday to anyone living with dementia (in 2024 already around 30 per cent have been sold just one week after launch). I realise that it is not for everyone but I thought I would share five things that I think made it a real holiday.


Use social situations to influence behaviour. The carers noticed a reduction in some of the symptoms of dementia. One person in particular normally needs a lot of encouragement to get out of bed in the mornings, to have a shower, to wear fresh clothes and to eat a decent meal. On the holiday he was up in good time for breakfast, showered every day and ate extremely well. My belief is that part of this is down to being in a social situation where we tend to try and fit in and do what others are doing.


Get outdoors and do something different. Our itinerary was excellently planned out, we visited some great attractions, including Osborne House, however the walk around the local farm was one of the highlights. Interacting with the outdoors and nature comes in many ways and brings pleasure and interest to everyone.


The power of being in it together. The positive feelings around chatting to other people who are in a similar situation is huge. This may be difficult to emulate if not on an organised holiday but worth bearing in mind. It is also true of getting together with others at groups like the Sunflower Cafe.


Make life easy. For many carers being responsible for everything around the house (meals, repairs, bills, washing, cleaning etc) as well as caring non-stop for a loved one living with dementia becomes very tiring. A holiday should give you as much of a break as possible. You may not have the luxury of volunteers to bring you coffee and cakes and carry your luggage but you could plan your itinerary in advance and choose a venue that makes life easier for you.


Music. We were lucky enough that one of the group brought his fiddle and on a couple of evenings he entertained us all with great skill. We also had a ukulele band visit us and had lots of fun taking turns choosing some old classics on Spotify to listen to. Everyone needs a bit of music in their life; those living with dementia particularly loved all the music.

These are my top takeaways from our wonderful holiday. To find out more about taking a holiday or volunteering with Dementia Adventure visit their website