The holidays bring families together.
Well, actually… planes, trains and automobiles do. And if this holiday season includes travel with your elderly parents, a little planning and preparation can go a long way toward making sure that everyone in your family stays happy and merry all the way into the new year.
Here are a few tips:
Know all medications… and have documentation.
Talk to your parent and/or her physician so you’ll know which meds must be taken, at what times, and with what. Keep all the meds in an easily-accessible bag – this means carry-on luggage for plane rides. Be able to provide proof of prescribed status, as well. If you can get one, a doctor’s note is never a bad idea. Generally, however, just the script on the bottle should suffice.
Food and water – don’t leave home without it.
It’s always a smart move to keep water on hand (easier done on road trips than planes) as well as quick snacks for medications. While it could mean an extra trip or two to the restroom, many elderly people are at a higher risk of dehydration than most. So, especially when on the road, try to opt for water over the carbonated stuff as much as possible.
Flying? Request special services.
Airports provide wheelchairs at no cost to customers. So use ‘em. They’re available as soon as you hit the gate, as well as when you get off of the plane – even for transfers. And when booking travel to begin with, seek a row that contains extra space for your elderly parent’s comfort. An aisle seat can make a world of difference, especially during longer trips. Popular discount airfare website Cheapair.com also recommends calling the airline or checking its website before arriving at the airport with such items as oxygen machines. Many of them require a medical form to accompany it, signed by a doctor.
Make security checks hassle-free.
If your loved one has a surgical implant that could possibly set off detectors, be sure to have all documentation of this with you to get through your lines as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Insurance: know what’s covered away from home.
Make sure your loved one’s insurance covers possible medical care while traveling. As well, know in advance where the nearest medical facilities are located, both en route, and at your destination.
Documentation: keep it handy.
Passports, state ID cards, and medical cards should all be kept in one place for the entire trip. And for loved ones with cognitive impairment, the Family Caregiver Alliance suggests donning wearable identification, such as a bracelet or a small GPS device.
Check in on your parent regularly.
Just to see how they’re doing. If they’re not chair-bound, they may seek to stretch their legs once in awhile, so insert those opportunities into your travel itinerary (another reason aisle seating is your friend).
Remember to have them dress comfortably.
There will be time to impress the rest of the family when you arrive. For the trip itself, make sure that your parent is wearing breathable, loose clothing that’s easy to move around in. Sneakers and loafers win every time over dress shoes, as feet do tend to swell when we travel. Plus, they’re easier to remove at security checkpoints. Good news: loved ones 75 and over are completely exempt from TSA checkpoint shoe removal.
Following these suggestions could definitely mean the difference between the holiday trip of a lifetime… and the holiday trip that seems to last a lifetime. Enjoy!
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one. Be it at home or in a community, we conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and everyday.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy