It’s the absolute most wonderful time of the year – for family get-togethers! With so many families separated by regional distance, or just because of the demands of life, all of us appreciate the chance to reconnect with family and friends during the holiday season. And for the elderly, the opportunity to enjoy quality time with family is especially priceless.
Yet as fulfilling as family time is, the logistics of holiday travel with a senior loved one can be complicated. If your family’s matriarch or patriarch will be traveling to participate in family celebrations this holiday season, these tips will make the journey much easier and significantly more comfortable for everyone:
- Meet Mobility Needs. Regardless of whether your loved one needs a walker or wheelchair on a normal day or not, it is best to make arrangements to have mobility assistance available. Review the layout for the airport, train or bus station, hotel, etc. and look to make sure that a wheelchair can be rented if necessary.
- Confirm Insurance Coverage. Review the older adult’s insurance plan to ensure that any emergency needs would be covered. For example, if traveling to another country, Medicare coverage won’t be available. Check 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. Special services are offered for the elderly as well as others with certain needs, including preboarding on flights, help with handling baggage, accessibility accommodations at hotels – even such details as waterproof bed coverings for those who are incontinent. Never be reluctant to ask for what you will need to help the senior to be as comfortable as possible.
- Utilize Senior Discounts. A number of discounts are available to the elderly, through AARP as well as through hotels, restaurants, major airlines, cruises, etc. Just a little preplanning can ensure you are able to take full advantage of all the good deals for which the senior is entitled.
- Plan for Plenty of Downtime. Although our initial thought may be to maximize time with family by enjoying as many sights as you can, the simple truth is, traveling is fatiguing, plus it’s important to include lots of time for the senior to simply relax. And don’t forget to incorporate bathroom and meal/snack breaks – every couple of hours is ideal.
Above all, relish each moment of your time together with family this holiday season. Capture the memories through pictures, videos, and journaling, to allow your older family member to relive the experiences after going back home.
You may also want to consider engaging the services of Absolute Companion Care’s professional care team to provide transportation accompaniment. Our experienced, highly trained and qualified caregivers can make sure the older adult’s needs are completely met during your family’s time with each other, giving everyone a far more relaxed and pleasurable experience. Call us at 410-357-9640 for additional information about top-rated Bel Air area home care and how we can help you travel with a senior loved one.