Are your senior loved ones traveling with you on this summer’s family vacation?
“Lots of great memories are made on summer road trips, so it’s wonderful when grandma and grandpa are able to travel with the rest of the family,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at Tudor Oaks Home Care’s partner, the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “If your senior has health issues or limited mobility, travel may be challenging – but it’s not impossible. Taking a few extra steps before you hit the road can help you overcome many of those travel challenges.”
When road-tripping with senior loved ones, Goetz recommends that you:
Plan ahead. Having a solid plan in place should help ease any travel concerns your senior may have. There are several things you can do before you load up the car – make packing lists, check travel times, research accommodations, review emergency plans and, most importantly, pack enough snacks for everyone!
Account for travel time. While you might be able to make it to the mountains in one day, that might not be possible for your senior. Sitting in the car for hours on end may be very uncomfortable for them, so consider breaking up the drive. If time is tight, flying might be the best option.
Ask about accessibility. If your senior has mobility issues, be sure that your hotel, cabin or cottage has first floor rooms or elevator access. Also think about activities – are they senior friendly?
Don’t forget about medications. It’s easy to lose track of time on vacation… but it’s important that you don’t lose track of your senior’s medications. Make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs that they take and put them in a pill organizer to make sure they’re taken as needed.
Review Insurance. Older travelers have a different set of health and safety concerns, so it’s helpful to have insurance for any unexpected falls or other accidents. Away from home accidents and unfamiliar doctors can be scary, but knowing that your senior is fully covered, will give everyone a little more peace of mind.
Don’t try to do too much. You’re on vacation, so you want to make the most of every minute. However, keep your senior in mind as you’re planning fun activities. Carefully consider the duration and kinds of activities you plan – keeping in mind that, for most seniors, late morning to early afternoon is the best time of the day to go out.
“Aside from just being fun, travel is good for seniors – it keeps their mind and body active,” Goetz said. “And, with a little planning, there’s no reason you can’t take your older loved ones along for the ride.”