Summer is a great time for many to take vacation. There are all different types of trips you might be planning such as a day trip to Atlanta, a weekend trip to Savannah, or one or more weeks in the Caribbean. If you are a parent with the children out of school, it’s time for family to enjoy quality time together. The grandparents might enjoy spending quality time with the entire family and might also have flexibility for traveling. Why not include them in your plans?
You might have to make some adjustments when traveling with seniors, but with good planning and adequate preparations everyone can have a great time.
Here are some tips to help include seniors in your travel plans:
If you have a distance to drive, anticipate taking more stops to rest. Even if you are flying or traveling another way, you will want to plan extra time for frequent rests because of senior health issues due to fatigue, bladder or bowel movements, or mobility problems. The elderly need to stretch more often because they can cramp easily. And they get dehydrated quickly so they need to get enough fluids during rest stops. Besides taking plenty of breaks, keep in mind that they get hot and cold easily and will need to bring layers for comfort.
It is important for everyone to get physical activity and move around, but the quantity and intensity can vary significantly with different ages. With more and more younger generations interested in extreme sports, it is a great challenge for them but is too strenuous for the elderly. Be creative and look for ways that one group can go on a challenging adventure while another group can do something more scaled back. Make sure to have plenty of activities during your trip that the entire family can do together no matter what age they are.
You hope you never have to deal with an emergency during a trip, but it is prudent to do some medical research. You should have some basic knowledge about hospitals and pharmacies in the vicinity of your route and destination. You also should have an understanding of the medications your senior parents are taking along with signs and symptoms to recognize emergency situations that could pertain to age-related diseases and the effects of their medications. Additionally, before you go, talk to your parents, or consult with their primary care physician if more appropriate, to find out any issues that could affect their travel. If your senior parents have a caregiver, he or she can also provide a lot of useful tips and information.
Planned Meal Times
Vacations could mean sleeping in some days while you are away, but if you are traveling with seniors they usually have to stick with routine. Many seniors have health issues that require regular medications and set eating times. Expect them to eat early in the morning soon after they get up and early in the evening so that there is plenty of time before bedtime to digest. Your children might not be ready to eat during this same schedule so it’s good to be prepared with plenty of drinks and snacks on hand to accommodate them both.
When you travel with seniors, it is always best to arrange the easiest access for everywhere you go. Most hotels have elevators, but older ones and some resorts might not. When booking reservations, ask for lower level rooms so that your senior parents will not have to climb stairs. And if one or more of your parents are handicapped, you will want to make certain before you complete your reservations that they are getting handicapped accessible accommodations, seat assignments, entry points, etc. when available. Not only do you need enough space but being able to get around in your vehicle is also important for their comfort. If a senior has a wheelchair, walker or other mobility equipment, make sure it’s going to fit in your vehicle.
The best trips are those that go smoothly with good planning and preparation. Good communication when traveling with seniors can help minimize stress both before and during your trip.