As the holiday season approaches, you may be planning trips to visit loved ones across the country, or even just on the other side of the state. If you’re caring for a senior, you may be wondering how to travel to friends and family, while still accommodating your senior’s needs. Some families are able to simply get all the other family members to congregate where the oldest members live; however sometimes this is simply not possible, whether due to time, money, or health issues.
If you do find yourself needing to travel with an aging adult this holiday season, especially one with special needs, we have some suggestions to make this process as easy and pleasant and possible for both you and your senior.
1. Medical Needs
First and most important on the list is getting your senior cleared for travel by their doctor. Especially if they are going to be flying, they need to be cleared for travel by a medical professional and ensure that they are current on vaccines for flu and other diseases. In addition, make sure to refill all prescriptions. It’s also worth thinking about medications that might make it easier to travel, like ones for altitude sickness.
2. Plan Ahead for Special Services
If you know where to look, there are many special services and amenities available to seniors who are traveling. From disabled traveler’s rows on buses and airplanes to hotels that offer special senior-friendly amenities to airline assistance in the airport—just ask! If flying, seniors often get special eased security restrictions when going through airport security. In all cases, make sure you call ahead to ask and arrange these services so that they know to expect you.
3. Pack Lightly and Efficiently
From keeping medications close at hand, to packing as lightly as possible, make sure that you pack knowing that you’ll need to operate with maximum efficiency. Having your hands free will mean you are able to focus more on meeting the needs of your loved one.
4. Research Medical Options
As you travel to a new location, make sure you know where you can seek help in the area if an emergency situation should arise. From hospitals to care facilities, write down phone numbers and distances so that you’ll have that information close at hand. Make sure you bring your insurance details as well.
5. Plan for breaks
It’s advisable to avoid a packed schedule when traveling with a senior, as they may move slower and need more time to rest between activities. In order to avoid stress, try to plan to arrive early for flights, and make sure your senior has time to settle at each new location. They may not be in as much of a rush as you are, so try to be patient and plan your schedule accordingly.
MIR Senior Care Management & Care Consultants is committed to providing support for caregivers during the upcoming holiday season. If we can help you find support or the best care options for a loved one, contact us today.