It is the most wonderful time of the year – for family get-togethers! With many families separated by geographic distance, or simply as a consequence of the demands of life, we all look forward to the chance to reconnect with close friends and family during the holidays. And for aging parents, the opportunity to spend quality time with family is particularly priceless.
Yet as fulfilling as family time is, travel for older adults and the logistics of getting together may be complicated. If your family’s matriarch or patriarch will be traveling to participate in family celebrations this holiday season, these strategies will make the journey much simpler and more comfortable for all:
- Meet Mobility Needs. Whether your loved one requires a walker or wheelchair on a normal day or not, it is a smart idea to make arrangements to have mobility assistance readily available. Review the layout of the airport, train or bus station, hotel, etc. and check to ensure a wheelchair could be rented if required.
- Confirm Insurance Coverage. Review the older adult’s insurance plan to ensure any emergency needs would be covered. For example, if traveling overseas, Medicare coverage won’t be available. Investigate travel insurance options, and check the U.S. Department of State’s website for help with international insurance options.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. Specialized offerings are available for the elderly and others with specific needs, including preboarding on flights, assistance with handling luggage, accessibility accommodations at hotels – even such details as waterproof bed coverings for people who are incontinent. Never be afraid to ask for what you need to help the senior loved one to be as comfortable as possible.
- Make Use of Senior Discounts. Multiple discounts are available to older adults, through AARP as well as through hotels, restaurants, major airlines, cruises, etc. Just a little preplanning can make sure you’re able to take advantage of all savings for which the senior is eligible.
- Allow for Lots of Downtime. While our initial thought might be to maximize time with family by taking advantage of as many sights as possible, the truth is, traveling is exhausting, and it’s important to incorporate lots of time for the older adult just to relax. And don’t forget to include bathroom and meal/snack breaks – every two hours is best.
Above all, savor each moment of your time together with family this holiday season. Record the memories through pictures, videos, and journaling, to allow your older loved one to relive the experiences upon returning home.
You might even want to consider engaging the services of the Home With You Senior Care team to provide transportation accompaniment. Our professional, highly trained and experienced caregivers can ensure the older adult’s needs are fully met throughout your family’s time with each other, giving everyone a more relaxed and pleasurable experience. Give us a call at 410-756-0959 to find out more about our top-rated Columbia, MD senior care!