Traveling with seniors can be as challenging as traveling with small children. Pre-planning your trips, and anticipating what they may need, can assist in a more prosperous and less stressful journey. Here are a few tips for traveling with an elderly person. This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on my link and buy something, I will earn a small commission from the advertiser at no additional cost to you.
Tips for Traveling with An Elderly Person
Though my mom looks young for her age, she has minor issues – but don’t tell her that. She’s 81-1/2 and doesn’t get around as I do. Her problems are small, and she’s notorious about forgetting things, like her umbrella, ha! Nothing I can’t handle, because I love taking her places with me. Whether flying or on a Mother-Daughter Road trip to Colorado, we enjoy our time together. It’s best to plan for these things in advance. I hope these tips help you plan your trips with an elderly person so you can enjoy each other’s company.
Pre-plan your trips
Investigate all possible modes of travel to your destination to determine which may fit best with your situation. Some individuals do better flying than traveling on the road. If flying, think about these situations:
- Some elderly do well with shorter flights with more stops; others do better with a direct flight.
- Allow enough time between connections—a minimum of 90 minutes—so that the person is not rushed.
- Remember that only double-aisle airplanes have accessible lavatories if traveling with an individual who uses a wheelchair.
- Take advantage of the airlines’ pre-boarding procedures for persons with special needs.
- Engage the hotel reservations clerk in requesting any specific needs during your stays, such as a first-floor room or an adjoining room.
- If renting a vehicle, consider the type of vehicle that would best accommodate the person.
- Is traveling insurance is necessary, think about that too while you’re pre-planning your trips.
What is the health of the senior that is traveling with you? What is their activity level? It is a good idea to have an up-to-date medical clearance from their healthcare provider as well as a sufficient amount of all prescription medications. It’s also a good idea to have a list of their medical conditions, prescriptions, and OTC medications. Medications should be in their original containers, not on a Sunday through Saturday pill minder tray. The provider’s name and phone number should also be on the documentation.
Meals tend to be different when traveling. Plan to have something to eat before your travels begin, preferably something light and something already packaged and ready to eat snacks. Carry water to prevent dehydration. These tips for traveling with an elderly person can also be given for traveling with children because no one eats the same things when you’re on vacation – right?
Does the person have difficulty walking, talking, hearing, or have an external or internal implanted appliance or device? There may be interference with the airport security or with metal detectors. Having the appropriate documentation for the device may be helpful in some situations. Alerting the TSA to such devices during the security checks will be beneficial. Durable medical equipment such as canes, crutches, and walkers are allowed onboard an airplane. Wheelchairs may be checked at the gate. Get wheelchair assistance in advance with airline personnel. Consider reserving an aisle seat for the individual if flying.
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Set the Pace
Consider a slower pace for the trip. An outing with a full day of activities is stressful for all, more so for an older person. Allow for nap time to recharge their energy. Consider a day of action, then a day of rest. Allow plenty of time for check-in at the airport or other modes of transportation. Individuals who have sensory limitations, such as hearing or a visual impairment, may feel insecure in new and unfamiliar situations. Keep in mind that they may need frequent reassurance that someone will be available for them to feel safe.
Traveling with an elderly person can be less stressful if their limitations are taken into account during the planning stages of the trip. So plan before you go.
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