When vacationing, special considerations need to be made when traveling with a senior companion. The goal is to make the trip as easy as possible and decreasing the potential for mishaps… while maximizing the fun! To ensure a pleasant traveling process, follow these tips on your next adventure.
Before the Trip:
- Plan ahead! Make arrangements well in advance instead of at the last minute. Potential barriers or problems can be easily addressed in a calm and efficient manner.
- Seek the shortest and most direct routes. Look for non-stop flights to avoid deplaning and racing across the airport to catch connecting flights. Direct flights are more expensive but the cost can be defrayed by booking well in advance.
- Reserve a wheelchair when making flight reservations for both the departing and receiving airports. Do not wait until the day of travel to express this need.
- Make the carrier aware of any special dietary needs such as food allergies or therapeutic diets for in-flight meals.
Airlines and other transportation providers aren’t obligated to accommodate needs that aren’t requested at the time of reservation. They may try to honor the request, but may not be able to on short notice.
- Make any special needs known when booking the hotel reservations. DO NOT wait until arrival and ask if special needs can be met.
- Collect all travel documents well in advance of the trip. Make sure passports are up-to-date for international flights and immunizations are current if traveling out of the United States. If travelling domestically, make sure appropriate identification is available.
- Consult with the doctor before planning a trip. Make sure a senior traveler is well enough to make the journey. The doctor may give a qualified “all-clear” with a list of precautions and limitations.
During the Trip:
- Remember to bring assistive devices and medical equipment such as diabetic testing supplies, C-pap or bi-Pap machines used or breathing at night, canes, hearing aids, eyeglasses, dentures and the like.
- Keep a list of medical conditions and medications readily available in case an emergency occurs. Having this information frees up the caregiver to make critical decisions instead of trying to recall which blood pressure medication mom is taking.
- When sightseeing and taking day trips, make sure to build in downtime for naps and rest periods. Sometimes a ten-minute “cat nap” is all it takes to feel refreshed.
- Mind your meds. Do not skip medications, change doses or alter administration times. It is easy to forget about daily routines when traveling. And make sure to consider time-zone changes!
- Make sure to bring an ample supply of meds because it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get more when traveling.
- Keep an emergency supply bag handy with a change of clothes, wet wipes, clean undergarments and a disposable bag. Maintaining dignity and personal cleanliness is essential.
- Stick to therapeutic diets as much as possible. Overeating or falling off the dietary wagon can bring unwanted consequences, turning an otherwise pleasant trip into a nightmare.
- Secure valuables such as money and personal identification. Do not be an easy mark for criminals. Passports are a prized possession for pickpockets around the world. Avoid scammers and deals that sound too good to be true, because they probably are.
Share pictures and memories from the trip with other family members and friends. Make a list of lessons learned to make the next trip even more enjoyable. Perhaps even share tips and tricks of your own online to help other senior travelers and their companions enjoy their time away.
Travel can be one of the great joys of life. It provides a mental vacation and a break from daily life. Take this and every opportunity to step outside the ordinary and rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
If you are helping to care for an elderly family member or friend contact the professionals at Kupuna Consulting. To reach our knowledgeable staff, call 732-655-4770. For more resources, click the button below.