Traveling long distances under the best of circumstances can be challenging. No matter how much you care about them, taking a trip with an elderly loved one can push your stress level to the breaking point. In addition to the obvious physical limitations, cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s can often turn even the shortest excursion into a major undertaking. Whether traveling with seniors by car, plane, train, or ship, taking these five steps will help ensure a more enjoyable experience for you and your travel companion.
Consult with Their Doctor
Before embarking on a trip with your loved one, as their doctor for an assessment regarding their overall health and wellbeing – including whether they are well enough to travel. While Mom or Dad might be fine to take a day trip or weekend excursion, a cross-country flight or lengthy cruise could put them at risk.
Their primary care physician can offer travel suggestions, including any restrictions or health concerns. Before departing, also be sure that your senior is updated on their vaccinations and stocked up on their prescription medications.
Pack Plenty of Essential Supplies
After safely stowing away your loved one’s prescription meds, don’t forget to pack anything else they might need during your trip. These ideas should help you get started:
- Travel-specific medications, including those for altitude sickness, headaches, or digestive relief
- Plenty of drinking water
- Durable medical equipment, such as a walker, wheelchair, oxygen tanks, wound care dressings, etc.
- Prescription glasses and/or sunglasses
- Batteries for hearing devices and other health aids
- Healthy snacks
- Updated copies of important documents, including a passport, advance healthcare directive, photo ID, insurance cards, list of key contacts, etc.
- Plenty of changes of clothing
Consider Mode of Transportation
Traveling by car or bus presents different challenges than does flying on an airplane. Be sure to adjust your expectations and plan accordingly based on the mode of transportation you will be using.
Tips when traveling by car:
- Make frequent stops to allow for stretching time and bathroom breaks.
- If renting a vehicle, get one that’s easily accessible for elderly passengers.
- Make sure there’s ample room for your senior’s mobility aids, if necessary.
- Keep your loved one comfortable by bringing blankets, pillows, and other amenities.
- Stock the vehicle with snacks, drinking water, books, games, etc.
When traveling by airplane:
- Allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport, check-in, pass through security, etc.
- If your senior has limited mobility, call ahead to arrange a TSA pre-check.
- Look up in advance the Federal guidelines for packing medications, liquids, and other carry-on items.
- When booking the tickets, make special requests for your senior, such as a seat with extra leg room, aisle seats, dietary restrictions, etc.
- If needed, ask for assistance at the airport. For example, you may both be able to save time and energy by requesting a wheelchair.
Respect Their Wishes
Upon arriving at your destination, periodically check with your loved ones to ensure they are safe, feeling fine, and – most importantly – enjoying themselves. Depending on your senior’s needs and preferences, there are all kinds of ways to make traveling easier for them – resulting in a more enjoyable trip for you too!
Bring Along a Personal Assistant
Another way to give your seniors the support and companionship they need is by bringing along a “personal assistant” in the form of a professional respite caregiver. Whether it’s a short day trip or a lengthy, cross-country vacation, a respite caregiver can help you stay refreshed by assisting your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed, transportation, and more.
Your Family Trusted Home Care Source in Elkhart, IN
Senior1Care is your trusted partner in providing quality, compassionate home care services to seniors living in Elkhart, Dunlap, Jamestown, and Goshen, IN. Our experienced caregivers are trained to deliver professional, reliable care in the same respectful and friendly manner that they would treat their own family members.
At Senior1Care, we understand that having a caregiver in your loved one’s home is a decision that requires trust. Our goal is to build relationships with clients by listening to their needs and providing the highest level of quality care possible. We are committed to helping your loved ones maintain their well-being, independence, and comfort. To learn more about our flexible caregiving options or schedule a FREE assessment for a senior in the greater Elkhart, IN, area, visit us by clicking here now.