The holiday season is quickly approaching, and with it come opportunities to travel and catch up with family and friends. Holiday travel and care giving can seem daunting, but there are some easy things you can do to make traveling with a senior or elder loved one easier.
Depending on their mental and physical state and abilities, discuss your travel plans with your parent or loved one and get their input, worries, and fears out so you can address them together. Then move on to planning the more fun aspects of holiday travel.
Holiday Travel and Care giving Check list:
- Always consult your loved ones doctor about travel plans, and make sure you have emergency contact information safe and accessible.
- Be sure you have plenty of medications and medical supplies to last your entire trip, plus a few days in case of weather or travel delays.
- When you book your ticket, request a wheel chair. Even if your parent or loved one is not technically disabled, having to walk long distances or stand for a long period of time may wear on their patience and fortitude. It will also help you ensure a faster boarding and disembarking. It has been show that requesting it when you book, instead of waiting until you arrive at the airport increases your chances of having one available 8x.
- You can also request a note from your loved one’s doctor office to present at check in with a request for expedited boarding or bulkhead seating for extra leg room.
- Request an Aisle seat for ease of getting in and out.
- Suitcases and luggage should have wheels for easy transport.
- Help your parent or loved one take note of where the bathrooms are and how to operate the doors.
- If your parent or loved one needs a wheel chair or walker be sure that it will fit in your vehicle. You may need to look into renting a vehicle if not.
- If driving long distances be sure you stop hourly or every other hour to allow time to stretch and walk around to prevent blood clots.
- Make sure someone not traveling with you knows your travel plans and route.
- Be sure to include a first aid kit and weather appropriate survival gear in your packing. For example, if traveling in colder weather include a couple of emergency/reflective blankets, several gallons of water, flash light, light sticks, emergency food or snacks, and changes of weather appropriate clothing and foot wear. Don’t forget an umbrella!
- If booking any hotel rooms, request a room on the first floor for easy access.
- Communicate with your loved one about your plans and the routine you expect to encounter and listen to their feedback. Learn to recognize if and when your parent or elder may be feeling overwhelmed and allow plenty of time between activities or appointments.
The holidays are a time to make memories and connect between generations. Holiday travel and care giving for senior loved one may present some extra challenges, but they can be managed with enough planning and thought.
Have you ever traveled with your elder parent or loved one? What did you find helpful? Please share in the comments below.