Just because your parents are older, doesn’t mean the family trips should end. With summer here, and beautiful fall weather right around the corner, it is the perfect time to begin planning your getaway. Maybe you’re visiting distant family and friends, or you are looking for an opportunity to spend time with your aging loved one. Either way, traveling with an elderly person can be easy with the right tips and tricks.
If your parents currently reside in independent senior living, they may be looking for an opportunity to be around a younger crowd, but it is important to remember that what works for you when traveling may not work for your elderly parent. They are probably accustomed to the lifestyle they have in their housing situation, and you will need to pay attention to certain details that will make their traveling experience more enjoyable.
Where to stay
When looking for accommodation for your stay it is helpful to choose rooms that are on the ground floor and close to entrances. Reducing the number of stairs and required walking to exit the hotel will preserve your loved one’s energy and make coming back after a long day much easier for them.
Older people usually need to take frequent breaks, so choosing a hotel that is close to the activities, restaurants, and attractions you want to experience will save time. Reducing the amount of walking you have to do between places will benefit you and your parents. Being close to the hotel no matter where you are will also save you a headache if you have to return quickly or unexpectedly.
It may also be a good idea to call the hotel ahead of time to ensure a wheelchair is available for renting or as a courtesy.
If your trip includes a lot of driving
Like walking, older individuals cannot sit through long car or plane rides as easily as younger people. If your trip involves a lot of driving it is important to take frequent breaks so that they can get up and walk around. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to blood clots in older people, which can be painful and extremely dangerous if they travel through the bloodstream.
There are several other precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of blood clots. Wearing compression stockings can help keep the blood circulating, as does changing your position often and making sure you are not sitting for more than an hour at a time. It is also recommended that you eat minimal salt before and during your ride.
Although they can form without any symptoms, keep in mind the common signs of a blood clot forming. Symptoms can include swelling, pain, tenderness, and redness in the skin in the area of the potential blood clot. Sitting for long periods of time is a common part of traveling, but it is not as simple as being bored or antsy for elderly individuals.
An airport is a commonplace of heightened anxiety for anyone, but these feelings of stress and agitation can be even worse for older people. If you are flying with your parents, the TSA has made certain parts of the experience easier for those who are over the age of 75. These individuals no longer have to take off their shoes or light jackets when passing through the screening.
If your loved one has a cognitive impairment or disability, they may qualify for a pre-check option. You can let TSA know the situation and they may make certain accommodations to decrease the stress of screening on your parents.
If your partner receives in-home care, it is likely they would have to travel with medicine. Make sure they are clearly labeled and separated from the rest of your baggage. It is also important to remember that medications are exempt from the liquid rule, however they still need to be stored in a clear bag that seals.
Traveling with your parents can be a great way to spend quality time with them. While traveling with your older parents may require a few extra steps you wouldn’t have to follow on your own, it is well worth the shared experience. You can talk to your mom or dad about where they would like to travel and begin planning a memorable trip, made easy by these helpful tips.
Bio: Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.