Busch Gardens with an Alzheimer's sufferer

Florida Guide > Other Parks

Taking an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s disease to a theme park is never an easy option.

Considering the price of a ticket for them and their carer, it is not something to take lightly. However why should he/she and the person looking after them have to miss out – especially if they are holidaying with other relatives. They have as much right to enjoy the experience (even if one of them won’t be able to remember it! )

When we visited our villa on Highlands Reserve this October we took my Mum with us and she was desperate to join in all the activities so our party of 9 decided to give Busch Gardens a go due to the apparent natural habitat there.

It wasn’t long before the conversation of how my mother had come ‘last week’ and seen the same people doing the exact same things, started. For those who live with this every day it is easier and less stressful for the person to agree with them – and hope they don’t grab the people and say how lovely it is to meet them again!

The rides were not appropriate for her – as she would have worried about darkness, sudden movements etc; so whilst the rest of the party enjoyed the roller coasters I pushed her around the park. Wheelchair accessibility was good and it was not long before we came across our first egrets who were not shy, or bothered about being seen the previous day. (I hasten to add that she’s never been to this park before! )

The swimming hippo and penguins were a great success and alligators basking in the sun proved hilarious. She also loved seeing a cheetah up close during a ‘meet the animals’ session. It did not seem to matter how many times we went past the animals, as she couldn’t remember seeing them before! Natural shade prevented her from becoming sun burnt and the ice-creams and water available were a great help.

Iceploration – a show with real animals and ice skaters, was another great success. The fantastic dancers, who wore amazing costumes, kept her interest from beginning to end and being able to meet one of the huskies after the show was a great success. She regaled stories to the keepers of how she had huskies when she lived in Canada (that was news to me! ) Every one she met treated her with great respect and didn’t mind her grabbing their hands!

All in all, it was not a cheap day out but one that, even if she won’t remember, gave me and my family lovely memories. We took lots of photos and she does remember the visit when we show her so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Busch Gardens to anybody travelling with the less-than-able.

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