Traveling with an Elderly or Disabled Loved One
As many schools across the country get ready for “summer break”, vacation plans begin to enter their final stages. While vacations are a period of fun and relaxation, they can be a source of stress and frustration for millions of adults. Those who have not prepared to navigate the challenges that accompany traveling with an elderly or disabled loved one may find the excursion to be a disaster. In order to give yourself the best chance at having a truly enjoyable vacation with your loved ones we recommend following these tips:
- Speak with your loved one’s physician before traveling; they can assist with extra medication, medical records and identify travel related health risks.
- If a car is your mode of transportation, factor in extra time for frequent stops. Theses pauses can be a great chance to “stop and smell the roses” and visit smaller attractions or cities along the way to your final destination. They also provide your loved one with some time for stretching, restroom breaks, as well as tending to medical needs.
- Pack a medical supply kit with anything that you might need. (Oxygen, hearing aid batteries, canes, portable stools and diabetes supplies)
- Have a list of all emergency contacts handy as well as numbers of medical facilities at your destination, just in case.
- When flying, try to pick an off-peak flight. This will decrease wait time, traffic and confusion while traveling.
- Many airlines provide assistance such as wheelchairs, terminal escort vehicles, and reduced wait times for those who may need it. Just be sure to contact your airline ahead of time.
- Bring plenty of water. Sitting while traveling can cause constipation and general unease; drinking water regularly will help to combat these symptoms and ensure that other issues do not flare up.
- Factor the sun into your plans. As with many elderly and disabled persons, the sun can be quite the burden and may interrupt activities, especially during the summer. Adequate protection in the form of sunscreen, UV rated clothing and sunglasses are essential to any trip.
While including your elderly or disabled loved one may not be the ideal vacation for everyone, following these tips can help to make the best of the situation. Planning is the best way to ensure that your vacation with be enjoyable, relaxing and filled with memories for both you and your loved ones. Remember that it’s not the destination, but the journey, so take your time and don’t forget to smell the roses.
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