It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for family get-togethers! With many families separated by regional distance, or simply due to the demands of life, all of us appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones during the holidays. And for aging parents, the chance to enjoy quality time with family is especially valuable.
Yet as pleasant as family time is, the logistics of traveling with elderly parents can be complicated. If your family’s matriarch or patriarch will be traveling to participate in family festivities this holiday season, these strategies can make the journey less difficult and much more comfortable for all:
- Meet Mobility Needs. Regardless of whether a senior loved one needs a walker or wheelchair on a normal day or not, it is smart to make arrangements to have mobility assistance readily available. Review the layout of the airport, train or bus station, hotel, etc. and check to make certain that a wheelchair could be rented if needed.
- Verify Insurance Coverage. Review the senior’s insurance policy to ensure that any emergency needs would be covered. For instance, if traveling to another country, Medicare coverage won’t be available. Look into 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 services are offered for older adults as well as others with certain needs, such as preboarding on flights, assistance with managing luggage, accessibility accommodations at hotels – even such details as waterproof bed coverings for those who are incontinent. Do not ever be reluctant to ask for what you will need to help the senior to be as comfortable as possible.
- Make Use of Senior Discounts. Multiple senior discounts are available to older adults through AARP as well as through hotels, restaurants, major airlines, cruises, etc. A little preplanning can ensure you are able to make use of all special discounts for which the senior loved one is entitled.
- Plan for Lots of Downtime. Although our initial thought might be to optimize time with family by taking advantage of as many sights as possible, the truth is, traveling is fatiguing, and it’s imperative to include lots of time for your loved one just to relax. And do not forget to include bathroom and meal/snack breaks – every couple of hours is best.
Most importantly, relish every minute of your time together with your family this holiday season. Record the memories through photographs, videos, and journaling, to enable your older family member to relive the experiences after going home.
You may also want to consider engaging the services of the Grace Home Care team to provide transportation accompaniment. Our professional, fully trained and qualified caregivers can make sure the older adult’s needs are completely met throughout your family’s time together, giving everyone a far more relaxed and pleasurable experience. Contact us at 785-286-2273 for more information about our top-rated home and memory care in Topeka, KS!