Are you about to head out on a family adventure with your elderly parents? Read these four travel tips to ensure a safe, stress-free vacation.
- Research and plan: Planning, reserving and confirming must be accomplished in advance to make the most of the trip. Establish a trip itinerary that allows everyone to contribute and that also clarifies the activities planned for each day. Make sure to build in down time in case your parents need some extra rest. Make hotel reservations, and reserve event tickets, passes and dining reservations in advance to avoid long lines, changes or disruptions to the days plans. If your elderly parents require wheelchair assistance or access during the trip, inquire about such services and special accommodations in advance.
- Safety, security and comfort: Traveling by air is much different than it used to be. Increased security measures meant to keep people safe have created longer lines at airport Plan to have everyone arrive at least two hours in advance of any departure. If possible, always book a non-stop, direct flight to your destination. Encourage your elderly parents to wear a money belt or neat Passage Wallet hidden under clothing. These are great security measures to keep money and identification secure and out of the hands of thieves. Don’t skimp on comfort while traveling. Consider the purchase of a travel pillow, a c-shaped balloon that supports the neck and head when resting aboard transportation.
- Keep all necessary identification and documents in a safe place: Collect all identification necessary for travel, such as passports and driver’s licenses, as well as documents such as insurance papers, prescriptions and other medical information (example: Doctor and Pharmacy phone numbers) from your family members and keep them together with your tickets and itineraries. If you are traveling with an elderly family member or adult with dementia or any other form of cognitive impairment, you should consider having them wear special identification bracelets with GPS chips in case they wander off or they get separated from the family.
- Arrange medication management and identify local medical facilities: Most older adults take five or more medications once or even several times a day. Make sure to pack enough medication for the entire trip and a couple of extra days in case unexpected delays returning home occur. Always put a few days of medication in your carry-on bag in case your luggage does not make it to your vacation destination. Road trips can have everyone off their regular routine. Consider providing your aging parent with an alarm watch and set reminder alerts to take their necessary medication. If you are traveling to a location you are not familiar with, do some research to find out where health care facilities are located should an emergency occur.
We’ve created more tips and tools on how you can make your summer travels with your aging parent the best. Check them out on our Facebook page.
FirstLight Home Care provides travel assistance for you or your loved one with our Travel Companion Services Program. Contact us today if you have questions on this or any of our other senior home care programs.