How to Travel with an Elderly Parent
When you travel with an elderly parent, there are some special considerations that come into play. Taking someone you love on a trip is great; however, as an adult child it is your responsibility to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that they are safe at all times. When traveling with your elderly parent , there are some things you should take note of before packing your bags and hitting the road:
Know the Traveler
If you are going to be traveling with an elderly parent, it’s important to know the person you are traveling with. Be aware of what they are comfortable with and what they don’t like. Make sure you know how they travel. Are they someone who likes to be on the go and stay busy, or are they someone who enjoys a slower pace? If you know they like to stay busy, plan some activities while traveling so they don’t get too bored. If they like a slower pace, make sure you have downtime in your plan as well. You want to make sure that the trip is a good fit for your parent. You also want to make sure you know what your parent’s health conditions are. This includes allergies, medications, and any health conditions that they may have. Knowing these things will help make the trip safer for everyone and will also help you prepare for any emergencies that may come up. It’s also important to know your parent’s mental health. Know if they are easily stressed or if they tend to get anxious in certain situations or crowds. If so, make sure you prepare for that while on the trip.
Find Out What Is Inviting for Your Parent
If your parent is in a wheelchair, make sure that all the places you visit are wheelchair-friendly. This is important if you plan to visit museums, historical sites, and other places like that. When it comes to lodging, look for hotels that offer amenities for seniors, like roll-in showers, grab bars in the bathroom, and king-sized beds. If you are staying with family or friends, make sure you ask them if there are any features of their home that will make it easier for your parent to get around. Another thing to consider when traveling with an elderly parent is food. Make sure you know what they like to eat and what they are willing to try while traveling. If they are finicky, try to make sure that there are restaurants that cater to their needs nearby.
Get to Know the Area You’ll Be Traveling To
If you are traveling to a new area, make sure you do some research on it before you go. Look into the best places to visit in the area, the best restaurants to eat at, and local customs so that you are respectful when you arrive. When visiting new places, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. This includes not only people you may encounter but also the climate and potential natural disasters that could be in the area. It’s also important to know the accessibility of the places you will be visiting. Is there an accessible path to the beach or a museum? Is there a public transportation system that is easy to use for your parent?
Have a Caregiver or Helper on Hand
When traveling with an elderly parent, it’s a good idea to have a caregiver or helper along with you. This way, you can have someone there to help with getting around, hearing the tour guide, or assisting with any medical needs that come up. When traveling with a group of people, you may want to assign different people to help with different things. This helps spread out the work while also making sure that everyone has a job to do while on the trip. When flying, it’s important to remember that you can’t have a caregiver sit with you at all times. Make sure you have the right documentation so that the elder care crew knows your parent’s needs and can help in the event of an emergency.
Have a Plan in Case of Emergencies
It’s important to have a plan for emergencies while on the road. Make sure your elderly parent is covered by travel insurance. If you have a long drive, make sure you have plenty of stops along the way. Give yourself plenty of time to get places and know what to do in case you get lost or there is some type of road closure. When you check into a hotel, make sure that they have an easy exit plan in case of an emergency. If there is an elevator, make sure it travels both up and down. This way, your parent can still use it even if they require a wheelchair. When visiting new places, make sure you have the local police department’s phone number saved in your phone so you have it ready in case of an emergency.
Try New Activities With Your Elderly Parent
If your parent has never really done anything out of the ordinary, now is the time to try something new. There are tons of things to do when traveling that are out of the ordinary and can really make for a memorable trip. When visiting new places, try to avoid the crowds and go to places that aren’t as popular. This can make for a much more enjoyable trip and also give you a chance to see the place without the crowds. It’s also great to try new foods while traveling. This is a great way to get to know the area you are in better and also can help your parent try new things if they are hesitant to do so.
Traveling with an elderly parent is a big undertaking. There are tons of things to consider, and you want to make sure that both you and your parent have a great time. Make sure you do your research, know the person you are traveling with, and go into the trip prepared. This way, you can make sure the trip is safe and enjoyable for everyone.