Traveling with older adults 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 older person I use every time my mother travels with me.
If you’re planning to travel with an elderly person, be sure you’ve adequately considered the health issues they face. Do they have mobility problems? You may want to secure a wheelchair if needed. Are they on medications? Consider any dietary needs and keep them in mind when selecting food for the trip. Will the trip be full of sightseeing or lots of walking and exploring? Take this into consideration so your travel companion doesn’t get too tired out. Without proper preparation, a long vacation might be too much for everyone traveling.
Here Are Five Great Tips For Traveling With An Elderly Person
My mother will be 85 on her next birthday and doesn’t get around as I do. Her problems are minor right now, and she’s notorious for forgetting things, like her umbrella and cash! It’s nothing I can’t handle because I love taking her on trips with me. Whether flying or on a mother-daughter road trip, we enjoy spending time together and doing fun activities and attractions. There are many things to consider when my mom travels with me, so planning in advance is best. I hope these tips help you plan your trips with an older person so you can enjoy each other’s company.
1. Pre-plan Your Trips When Traveling With An Elderly Person
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—not to rush the person.
- Take advantage of the airlines’ pre-boarding procedures for persons with special needs.
- If renting a vehicle, consider the type of vehicle that would best accommodate the person.
- If traveling insurance is necessary, think about that while you’re pre-planning your trips.
2. Keep in mind any health issues of an elderly person
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 and a sufficient amount of all prescription medications. It’s also good to list their medical conditions, prescriptions, and OTC medications. Medications should be in their original containers, not a Sunday through Saturday pill minder tray. The provider’s name and phone number should also be on the documentation.
3. Think About Food And Meals
Meals tend to be different when traveling. Plan to have something to eat before your travels begin, preferably something light and packaged and ready-to-eat snacks. Carry water to prevent dehydration. These tips for traveling with an older adult can also be given for traveling with children because no one eats the same things when you’re on vacation – right? Just remember to get any dietary needs ahead of time (in the pre-planning stage).
4. Consider Elderly Limitations At the Airport
Does the person have difficulty walking, talking, hearing, or having an external or internal implanted appliance or device? There may be interference with 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 security checks will be beneficial. Durable medical equipment such as canes, crutches, and walkers are allowed onboard an airplane. Get wheelchair assistance in advance from airline personnel and check the wheelchair at the gate.
If flying, you may want to consider reserving an aisle seat for the individual. Traveling with an elderly person can be less stressful if their limitations are assessed during the trip’s planning stages. So plan before you go.
5. Set The Pace For Your Trip
Give thought to a slow-moving pace for the trip. An outing with a full day of activities is stressful, especially for an older person. Allow for nap time to recharge their energy, or plan 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 with sensory limitations, such as hearing or visual impairment, may feel insecure in new and unfamiliar situations. Remember that they may need frequent reassurance that someone will be available to feel safe.
When planning to travel with an older adult, remember to pre-plan your trip, consider their health issues and dietary needs, and set the pace. If I can give any advice, it would be to give yourself more time in the day. And if you are traveling with other people and children, know it can get complicated at times because an older person’s needs may be different than the others.