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Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

posts: 12
reviews: 16
Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

The last time we went abroad we went as a normal family mum dad and 2 teenage kids. We were financially and physically fit. Now things have changed big time and so unexpectedly. My husband had a massive stroke the first year barely surviving ,then an aortic dissection the following year again seriously lucky to survive albeit with an aortic graft and artificial heart valve. Then last year nearly died again with massive infection and spent the summer in the heart institute. So now the kids are at Uni its just hubby and I with limited finances and him with little mobility. He can walk a few yards very very slowly with a stick. He gets around the house by grabbing chairs cupboards etc. He has a collapsible wheelchair he resists going in as much as possible which I push. He tries to live the same life he did, he has had some nasty falls .

We now want a foreign holiday together. I am apprehensive to say the least! Finances are limited, insurance limits us to Europe so we were thinking Canaries as it would be warm in October when we can go. I would like an all inclusive hotel right on the beach so everything will be there. I am also worried how I will get him into the airport he has trouble just getting in and out of our car although he can actually do it. I have been on at him to get a mobility scooter but he wont as doesn't want to be disabled although he so obviously is.

So basically I am travelling for the first time with a husband who can't walk very far gets very breathless and tired and is on dozens of meds including wafarin. I don't want to deny him or me a much needed holiday but trying to find somewhere suitable on a budget I have had no luck so far. Suggestions anyone?

Nowy Sacz, Poland
Destination Expert
for Poland
posts: 4,023
reviews: 42
1. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

Please see what we've got here for disabled travellers www.facebook.com/groups/651478171544602/

I use crutches at home but a wheelchair out and about, most of the time unless distances are short. Air travel is not a problem - it's the destination you need to research - and face the issue of things like transfer coaches being unsuitable.

Good luck, and report back with what you decide - it's good to hear when people manage a holiday.

London, England
posts: 5,451
reviews: 64
2. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

Sorry to hear about your husband's health problems. I think you may find that travelling these days with a disability and/or limited mobility is much easier than you think, particularly within Europe. I have limited mobility due to arthritis and was like your husband, not wanting to use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. There comes a time when you just have to swallow your pride and accept you can't do the same things a before. I am currently in France and my local council lends mobility scooters FOC, so we have brought one with us (in our car). Believe me, it has been a godsend and you will appreciate as a female, I can independently look in all the shops I want to see.

You may need to do some research on a destination, but when you book a flight just remember to book assistance for your husband.

Yes, the main resorts in the Canary Islands are accessible, but tend to be expensive. Winter is high season there, so bear that in mind when booking in October. Have you considered Benidorm or Costa del Sol, both accessible, good weather in winter and affordable.

Good luck with your research.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 13,031
reviews: 210
3. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

My husband also resisted a mobility scooter until I appealed to him on my behalf rather than his own. I suggested that his attitude was a bit selfish because by refusing to use a mobility scooter he created more work for our children and more concern for me. Appealing to the idea that we vacation to have a relaxing experience, and his refusal to take advantage of the scooter defeated the purpose of the vacation I ask him to consider using one.

On our first trip he was very hesitant, and if we had not been with our children I do not know if I would have been able to convince him that without the scooter he was a greater burden. Now he has discovered a level of freedom he has not enjoyed in several years. We never leave home without our scooters, and we have been all over with them.

As John explained, your problem in managing his disability will be more likely to happen with the property where you stay rather than with the airline. Most airports and airlines are well equipped to managed disabled passengers.

Make sure that you destination hotel has access into the hotel, has no barriers such as a few set of steps to accent the design of the hotel, offers elevators, and that the elevators will hold a scooter or a wheelchair. You may also need to question the shower situation if that is an issue for you at home.

When you reach the curb of the airport you should unload your husband. If you need to park your car, leave your husband at the airport while you park. If you take some form of shuttle to the airport you will arrive together. If you use curb-side check-in you will not have to manage him. He can either use the scooter or wheelchair he brings from home, or you can request wheelchair assistance from the curb of the airport to the door of the plane.

I so admire he courage of people who are willing to continue to travel in the face of such difficulties. I hope you have a great experience and that you are both refreshed from your vacation.

Chertsey, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 26
4. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

Have you come across this website? http://www.disabledholidaydirectory.co.uk/ Might be worth a visit to search out accessible accommodation, but you don't always have to have specially adapted accommodation - which is often more expensive . I agree with everything said above. You need to check everything at the venue. Prepare a list of questions. Have you thought of Portugal? More to do if you don't fancy the beach all day. Most museums and other attractions in Europe offer the same concessions as here - ie free entry for carer, sometimes for both, and are wheelchair accessible. My husband has similar disabilities to yours, but since his stroke we have travelled to almost every country in Europe, also to India and Mauritius. He has a tiny fold-up scooter we take on the plane and it rarely raises an eyebrow from the airlines. At the destination, it is the object of envy from practically every elderly person we pass, disabled or not! I got it on e-bay. Do you know about the motability scheme where you can get a free scooter or even car if you are in receipt of higher rate mobility element of DLA, at least until the government puts a stop to it? You should also check that your insurer has full details of your husband's disabilities - you may have to go to to a specialist insurer. Finally, get a phrase book (or download from internet) and make sure you know how to say 'my husband is disabled' and any other useful words and phrases in the destination language. Even when the locals speak good English, they don't necessarily have specialised vocabulary. In Venice (nightmare for disabled, don't do it as a novice) I was informing people that my husband had been de-activated until someone told me the right word. Good luck and have a lovely time.

Harrogate, United...
posts: 19
reviews: 2
5. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

This may sound hard but until your husband will accept his disability you will struggle, like Busy-retired says appeal to him that the scooter/wheelchair is also a benefit for you, as you will be able to relax a little bit more knowing that he is safe.

My husband is a double leg amputee above the knee so relies soley on wheelchair/scooters, for our holidays we use an electric mobility boot scooter so he has his freedom and I'm not pushing in the heat.

To get to the airport we use an adapted taxi which means he rides up a ramp and then the scooter is fasten down so no need to transfer and no need for me to take the scooter apart, so much easier for me.

I research our holiday quiet a bit as I want everything accessible for him as then makes my life easier and my holiday more enjoyable.

I decide were I fancy going and tend to get it down to a couple of places and a selection of hotels, I then e-mail the hotels and ask if they have adapted rooms(you may not require) and ramps in the hotel their answer then makes my choice easier. Adapated rooms tend to have shower with a seat and grab rails also grab rails round the toilet.

When you have decided were you wish to go and are booking it also book you airport assistance at the same time, if you are taking an electric scooter they will want to know it's weight , height and battery type (you will find this information in the manual). We normally keep the scooter right upto the plane door and then transfer to an aisle chair you are normally first on and last off, at our destination we again book an adapted taxi.

Due to me working full time we tend to go for a chill out holiday and have been to Tenerife twice to the same hotel as it has everything we need (see my reveiws for the Sandos San Blas)

Hope this helps, If your not sure of anything please feel free to PM me if I can help I will

Relax and enjoy you holiday

6. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

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posts: 44
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7. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

Hello Marie So glad to have happened on your post regarding concessions to museums and other sites for disabled and their carer. We were in Rome recently and found that, not only admission to all sites was free, but we could go to the front of the queue which was such a help.

We are now planning a trip to Pompeii. The same concession applies there as in Rome but I am still struggling with travel concessions. I see that www.trenitalia.com gives information on such facilities but the translation into English is so bad as to be illegible. Have you any experience or advice to offer.

We are a party of mother (69 disabled), daughter (carer), and granddaughters aged 14 and 15.

London, England
posts: 5,451
reviews: 64
8. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.


You would probably get more responses to your questions if you put them in the Italy forum.

Personally, I find Italy one of the least accessible European countries for somebody disabled.

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
posts: 13,031
reviews: 210
9. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

While we had a few problems in Rome, it is certainly not the least accessible European country. The cobblestones were a bit rough, but our greatest difficulty was that people park illegally all over, including at the curb cut-outs. Pedestrians can walk between cars when crossing streets, but it is much more difficult for a wheelchair or scooter to work around this jumble of cars.

Our apartment had an elevator, but it was too small for our little mobility scooters so we had to take them apart and move them to our third floor flat piece by piece. I wished I would have checked that before we arrived, but I had no idea they made such tiny elevators.

Taxi drivers were great about putting the scooters in the trunk. Museums were generally accessible. We had a great time not only in Rome, but through out Italy, and it was much more enjoyable with our scooters.

I reserve the status of least accessible European city for Istanbul. I rarely even see a local resident in a wheelchair. I assume it is just so difficult that they do not leave their homes. We cannot take our scooters, and depend upon taxis with door-to-door service, and planned routes with lots of places to stop and rest. The sidewalks and curbs are impossible. Public transportation is almost impossible. Very few hotels, restaurants or shops have accessible accommodations.

Obviously there are ways, because we spend 4 to 6 weeks in Istanbul every year, but it is certainly not an easy city.

London, England
posts: 5,451
reviews: 64
10. Re: Advice please first time abroad with disabled husband.

Busy retired

it is a long time since I have been to Istanbul, so can't comment, but neither do I really consider it a European country. However, I still maintain Italy to be one of the lesser accessible European countries as you, yourself have found out. I really thought those small lifts (I think you mean with the inside door) were deemed unacceptable in the EU some years back.