Now that summer has arrived in central Ohio, many families are busy planning for a vacation. If your summer travel plans will include an older loved one, taking a few extra precautions can make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
Traveling Well with Your Senior Parents
- Plan Your Itinerary Carefully: When you are traveling with an older loved one, taking their needs into consideration is an important part of making the trip successful. Consider what their best time of day is and plan to travel during that time. This is especially true if your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. If you will be traveling by car, be sure to book hotel rooms ahead of time. Plan your route to allow for frequent rest breaks throughout the day. If you are traveling by air, try to book direct flights to help make the travel day shorter and less complicated.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Jam-packed vacation days might work when you are traveling with your teenagers, but for older adults it may be unrealistic. Try to arrange the itinerary so the days are broken up by stops to rest and refuel.
- Plan for an Emergency: No one wants to think the worst will happen while they are on vacation, but it is better to be prepared just in case. Take a few minutes before you leave to research local hospitals and urgent care centers in your destination city. If your loved one has dementia, call the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to ask for a list of resources, such as adult day centers. Finally, assemble a file of your senior loved one’s important health information. It should include their medication list, physician contact information, allergies and medical history. There are apps you can download for your cell phone to make storing that information easier. Two that might help are CareZone and Unfrazzle.
- Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance: Caregiving emergencies can happen at the most inconvenient of times. Because of that, you might want to consider travel insurance. If the unexpected happens, it may allow you to recoup some of your travel expenses.