Travelling after having a stroke
Having a stroke is life-changing and can leave you feeling like normal life is over. However, with therapy, treatment or rehabilitation, many people can resume their lives, including travelling and going on holiday. Below are some points to take into consideration before you go away:
- Before you go away, check with your GP that you’re fit enough to travel, and if you intend on flying, make sure you’ll pass any fit-to-fly evaluations. Ask about medication, treatment or any vaccinations you’ll need before you depart on your trip and discuss going on holiday with them – they may be able to offer advice specific to your medical situation.
- Booking your holiday can be difficult even without having the effects of a stroke.
If your stroke has left you with mobility problems, check with your accommodation provider, travel provider and holiday company whether they can provide the right assistance, care and/or equipment. For example, if you’re in a wheelchair, are there any disabled parking spaces? Is the door to the bathroom wide enough for you to get in and out with ease? Is there wheelchair access?
- Make sure you research medical facilities local to your destination as they may be different from home and in case of an emergency you may need to access them. Find out where they are and what the local emergency number is.
- Invest in a good travel insurance policy that covers you and your condition for what you want to do on holiday.
- It may sound silly, but ‘train’ for your trip. You always plan on doing more on holiday than you do for the same amount of time at home, so gently push yourself and build up your stamina for all the sight-seeing you’ll be doing but don’t over-do it. If you feel tired, take it easy.
- Take extra copies of the itinerary and plan times for leaving and arriving at different points on your trip. This should make you think a bit more about any extra time you need in between things because of mobility issues, toilet breaks, food breaks etc.
- If you’re coping with aphasia as an after-effect of having a stroke, sight-seeing can be particularly difficult whilst on holiday. Tour guides can have accents, talk fast and quote names, dates and numbers at a pace which is hard to process. Get through this by picking up any brochures which are likely to have similar information in, or ask a travel companion to write things on a notebook so you can understand what is being said.