Traveling with Elders: Tips for a Smooth Journey

senior travelPlanning a trip with someone who has limited mobility, requires a walker or wheelchair?  Is Mom coming for a visit to see family, but doesn’t get around quite the same as before?

Here are our tips for a safe, smooth trip for someone who has limited mobility or health concerns:

  • Know the rules and regulations.  As the TSA changes rules and screening procedures, you might come up against unexpected difficulties so learn what to expect as best you can.  Older individuals, those in wheelchairs, and those with medical devices are not immune to the scrutiny of security procedures.  If your loved one has not traveled in a while, he or she may not be aware of packing restrictions, the need to remove shoes and jackets, etc.  Help them to anticipate these procedures.  Click here for the TSA’s information page and rules.
  • Plan regarding medications.  Do you have a carry-on supply for medications that need to be taken during the trip and a schedule to ensure medications are not missed?  Does medication need to be taken with food or water?  Has your loved one packed all the medications needed?  (For lengthy trips, most insurance provides for early refills for a “vacation supply”.)
  • Consider comfort in planning.  Think about items that might make the journey more comfortable, from an extra sweater to a neck pillow to reading material or puzzle books.  Also think about comfort in general trip planning.  What route will be the least difficult (least layovers, time, most on-time flights), can you travel at less crowded times, what method of travel is best (i.e. would a car ride be easier for a relatively short trip vs. a flight)?
  • Be realistic.  Think about how easily your loved one tires, how well he or she can get around, and how much assistance might be needed in the bathroom, getting up and down from seats, etc.  You can modify plans to minimize concerns, or consider hiring a trained home health aide as a travel companion (typically this senior companion could either travel with you or assist your relative from Point A to Point B on your behalf).
  • Be very cautious if your loved one has memory deficits/dementia.  Plan for someone to be an escort.  The complexity of travel requires complex thinking, so even early stage Alzheimer’s can affect the ability to manage the situation (and so many unforeseen things can change regarding trip plans).

If you want to plan a special family vacation for your elderly loved one, there are different options that might be easier for someone with health challenges.  For example, cruises can often accommodate mobility challenges, offer a variety of activities for all interests/needs and have a doctor on board.  Shorter trips and close locations can still be special without the hassle of a long journey.  Or, bring a family celebration to your elder!

EasyLiving can help you with our travel concierge services, arranging for a qualified home health aide to travel with your loved one and even assisting in travel arrangements to ensure the smoothest journey.  Contact us for more information online or at 727-448-0900.

EasyLiving also offers local senior transportation services in Pinellas County, Florida and senior concierge aides to attend events, assist with holiday chores and more!