Organising a disabled-friendly holiday

I thought I’d better do some preliminary planning for the Tasmania trip in December-January.  After all, the year is rushing past so fast I’m liable to miss most of it!

Previous family holidays have been camper-trailer based, which gave us a great deal of freedom to go where we wanted.  Best of all, it allowed us to make use of the 4WD to explore interesting tracks.  This year, we will not be able to use the 4WD / camper trailer combination because Anita needs her electric wheelchair all the time now.  We have a wheelchair accessible van, but it has no towbar so can’t tow the camper trailer.  So what to do?  Tasmania is the destination, and the Internet is the key.

We can get to Tasmania via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry service from Melbourne to Devonport, so that part is easy.  The thorny bit is accommodation.  We need to be able to stay in Tasmania for four weeks in wheelchair-accessible venues.  Hotels are generally out, as we would need 2 or 3 rooms and that makes the trip unaffordable.  Via a Google search, I found a site that lists accessible short-stay accommodation throughout Tasmania.  It looks like we will be able to rent a cottage near Devonport for 2 weeks, then one on the east coast for a week, and a third cottage for the final week near Hobart.  The only fly in the ointment is that I’ll need to book soon to ensure our place, and there are a lot of bills due at the moment.  Hooray for overtime!

The other bit that needs organising is respite care for Anita during the week that Laura, Claire and I want to walk the Overland Track.  She needs assistance with her activities of daily living for 6 days, and it looks hopeful that the Carer Respite Centre will be able to help with this.  It will be either residential respite care in a facility in or near Devonport, or it may be respite care provided in our rented cottage for the week.

Having a disabled spouse makes holiday planning essential.  We used to just pack up the camping gear and head off on holidays.  Now it takes a lot more organising, and is considerably more expensive.  Still, I’m grateful that we can still have family holidays.  It won’t be too long before Laura heads off to university, then family holidays for all of us together will probably become a thing of the past.

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