Originally posted by: CruisingCM
Hi Debbie -
Physical disabilities and accommodations are vastly different than cognitive ones. We are both physically disabled to different degrees. Hubby had a stroke in 2014 and I have RA. He is able to walk with a quad cane (which is a major advance from when he required a scooter). His right leg weak (he has a lower leg brace) and his right arm is paralyzed. We select staterooms that are close to elevators and midship and toward the end of the ship where we use more of the common facilities.
We have had good experiences with RC's disability excursion planner. RC is also accommodating when it comes to MDR seating near the door, but only after I submitted a rather lengthy comment in the onboard box about having to make our way through the entire dining room to a table when the first table in the MDR was empty.
The walker is no problem. If she is physically limited or has low stamina, consider renting a scooter IF you think she can manage operating one within her cognitive limitation.
The challenges with cognitive disabilities are different than physical ones. The cruise lines really don't have a reasonable way to make cognitive impairment accommodations. You have to assess and plan for risk areas specific to her... things like a door alarm (if she is prone to wandering), night light, and things that would help reduce the risk of her becoming disoriented or frightened in a strange environment.
As for a stateroom, consider going with an inside or ocean view cabin. A balcony may be too big of a risk.
As far as ports, depends on her physical capabilities you may or may not want to deal with too many tender ports. Getting on and off a tender that is rocking and rolling can be unsettling to anyone, let alone someone with a cognitive issue and physical disability.
As for excursions, stick with excursions booked through the cruise line. If you run into problems in any port, there is immediate help right there. Look carefully at the physical requirements and itinerary associated with an excursion.Too long, too busy or too much exertion may be too much for her.
It is all about risk mitigation. If you are confident that you can address the risks of traveling with her cognitively and physically impairments, give it a try. Try a 3-4 day cruise first. If it goes well, take it from there for longer voyages.
Final point, having to be "on" for an entire cruise will not be particularly restful for you. It may actually end up being extremely stressful. You might consider bringing along a third and/or fourth person. That will make it much easier on you as a caregiver.
I did a Google search using "traveling with a cognitively impaired person". The resources listed were very helpful.