Summer is the perfect time of the year to embark on exciting adventures and explore new destinations. However, it’s crucial for families traveling with older adults to prioritize safety and effectively plan their trips to ensure a memorable and hassle-free experience.
Whether you’re planning a dynamic cross-country road trip or a relaxing beach vacation, these seven essential tips will help you travel confidently, knowing you’ve taken the extra steps to plan accordingly.
Speak to your loved one’s healthcare provider
Before making any travel plans, consider consulting with your loved one’s healthcare provider to discuss the destination, itinerary, and any pre-existing medical conditions.
Your loved one’s doctor can provide valuable advice on vaccinations, medications, and health precautions specific to their needs so there are no surprises during the vacation.
Make sure you get any necessary refills on prescriptions. It’s also a good idea to bring a written list of medications and their medical history.
Research and plan thoroughly
To ensure a smooth journey, do your homework and know exactly where you are traveling. Look for senior-friendly destinations that have accommodations, accessibility options, and nearby medical facilities that will cater to your family’s specific needs.
If traveling internationally, study the local culture, customs, and potential language barriers. Additionally, plan your itinerary with realistic expectations so you don’t overdo it.
Sticking to a familiar schedule of mealtimes, rest time, and activity will help reduce stress while traveling. Allowing enough time for rest and recovery between activities will prevent you and the rest of your family from becoming burned out and overwhelmed.
Packing efficiently is the key to an enjoyable trip, but it can also be one of the most stressful tasks. To make things easier, create a checklist of essential items your loved one needs, including comfortable and lightweight clothing, sunscreen, sturdy footwear, necessary medications, and any mobility aids you may need.
Remember to pack essential documents such as identification, travel insurance, and emergency contact information. If flying, make sure they pack a well-organized carry-on bag with all essentials, including extra medications and a change of clothes. Additionally, make sure there’s some room in their bag if they plan to bring back souvenirs or gifts.
Think about purchasing travel insurance
If you’re flying internationally, purchasing travel insurance with a ticket provides peace of mind and financial protection against unexpected events.
Choose a policy that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption, lost luggage, and travel delays. Read the policy terms carefully to ensure it suits your needs and those of your family members, and consider purchasing coverage with pre-existing condition waivers if necessary.
Prioritize travel safety
Whether exploring a bustling city or relaxing on a beautiful beach, staying vigilant with safety precautions will always be important. Make sure that your loved one keeps personal belongings close at all times, remains aware of their surroundings, and avoids unfamiliar or poorly lit areas, especially at night.
Advise your loved one against carrying large amounts of money and valuables, as seniors are prime targets for robberies. For international destinations, familiarize yourself and your loved one with emergency numbers and the location of the nearest embassy or consulate.
Hydration and diet are key
Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in the summer. Ensure that your loved one carries a refillable water bottle and drinks plenty of fluids throughout the day. Sometimes, traveling to a new place makes peoplewant to try everything in sight, but maintaining a balanced diet should be the ultimate goal.
If your loved one has specific dietary requirements or food allergies, research local restaurants or consider booking a place with a kitchen if they can prepare their own meals.
Stay connected and keep family in the loop
While exploring new destinations, staying connected with your loved ones is crucial. Share travel plans, accommodations, and contact information with trusted family members or friends.
Regularly check in with your loved one to update their whereabouts and if there’s any significant changes to their itinerary. This ensures that someone knows their location and can assist if needed.
Traveling as a senior can be an incredibly enriching experience filled with new adventures and exciting memories. By following these tips, you can ensure those memories are positive and stress-free for your family. Happy travels!
For more information on caring for a loved one with dementia, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.