The last thing any of us wants is to become a burden on our loved ones. Yet, as we age, it’s inevitable that we will slow down a little, and possibly need help in our day-to-day lives. We may even come to need help doing basic tasks, such as remembering our medication or trying to live a healthy life. When this happens, it’s natural for us to look towards our family for care. Yet in doing so, we ask them to put their own lives on hold. Fortunately, in our digital age of interconnectedness, there’s a smart solution to help the family meet everyone’s needs.
TRAVELING WITH A SENIOR
If the special senior in your life is still relatively fit and can travel in comfort, they may well enjoy joining you for your adventure. While traveling with a senior has some unique challenges, it can also be one of the most rewarding road trips you ever take. Imagine the joy, bonding, and golden experiences to be had taking great-grandma along on your trip to visit your first grandchild.
With that being said, there probably won’t be too many spontaneous road trips with your elder. It pays to plan well if you’re taking them along. As with younger children, planning appropriately will help keep the fun flowing. Start off by getting the all-clear from their doctor, and make sure to have a plentiful stock of all their medications and other needs on-hand for the road. If you’re booking accommodation along the way, let them know you are traveling with a senior, so they can offer you rooms that are easily accessible. These will typically be on the first floor. Some may even have specific elder-friendly options. If you’re crossing border, make sure to check if there are extra vaccinations they may require above the ones you need, and take a moment to check their paperwork is all in order.
PLANNING FOR THE ROAD
Be sure to arm yourself with some key documents. Have their primary care physician’s number on hand, as well as a copy of their prescriptions and basic medical information. A medical power of attorney is a smart plan, too. If they need incontinence supplies, have these on hand. Snacks, water, and some light clothes that can be easily layered should always be with you on the journey. Don’t forget your travel health essentials, either.
A road trip can be a calm and rewarding way to get to your destination. Opt to take a larger vehicle that will be comfortable to sit in for long periods. You can always rent one if you don’t own something that will get the job done. Remember that sitting with arthritis, hip or knee injuries or replacements, and poor circulation can be a bit of a chore. Your loved one may want to grab some compression stockings to keep their blood flowing. For the same reason, allow plenty of time for rest stops into your route. Not only will you all get a chance to stretch your legs, but your seniors can relieve themselves in a pleasant facility instead of at the side of the road.
Traveling with a senior who has some degree of cognitive impairment or dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, will be considerably more challenging. It’s well worth considering if they need to make the trip at all, as this will upset their routine and can leave them prone to Sundowner Syndrome in a strange place where they could easily come to harm. You may not be able to make the most of your vacation, either
DO I HAVE TO STOP TRAVELING BECAUSE MY SENIORS CAN’T?
It may not be convenient to take your elder loved one on every planned trip. If you find yourself the primary caregiver to an aging family member, it’s important to realize that there is help out there, and you should never feel guilty for using it. In-home care, for example, involves a skilled caregiver keeping your senior company at their residence. They will ensure they get through each day safely, with healthy meals and all medication taken. They also provide social stimulation and company. We often only think of in-home caregivers as a long-term solution, but places like Husky Senior Care also do short-term stays to help families get a break, travel, attend to other business, and other reasons.
Your senior wouldn’t want you to put your life entirely on hold just because they need some help day-to-day, so caregiving services offer you a fantastic way to ensure your peace of mind about your loved one back home, even while you’re traveling on your next great adventure.