How to Prepare for Senior Travel

January 14, 2015

Traveling for seniorsWhether you’re planning a trip to an exotic location for a retirement vacation or simply traveling to see family members, there are important factors to consider when seniors are traveling. Travel can be a very exciting and rewarding experience for seniors, especially for those with limited mobility, though great care should be taken by loved ones and caregivers to avoid potential emergencies or inconveniences.

Whether traveling alone or with someone to help, the following steps can help prepare for senior travel and ensure the trip is safe and enjoyable. Keep in mind, though, that each individual may require specific care and attention depending on their age, health, medical conditions, and travel circumstances, so be sure to take those into account ahead of time.

  1. Consult With A Doctor Prior To Travelling

To ensure that your loved one is clear to safely travel, it’s vitally important to check with his or her primary care doctor and any specialists they may be seeing. Particularly if air travel is involved, care should be taken for seniors with heart and respiratory conditions. Talk with your doctor about whether the means of travel and destination is appropriate based on your loved one’s condition. Ask about any travel tips they might have, and be sure to get any necessary vaccines or extra medication supplies.

  1. Investigate Medical Facilities At Your Destination

In the event of an emergency, it is critically important to know where the closest medical facility might be and to know what services they provide. Particularly if you are traveling to an unfamiliar destination or a foreign country, find out where the nearest hospital or care centers are. Also, be sure to carry all contact details for his or her primary care doctor, as well as any necessary medical and insurance information.

  1. Arrange Any Special Services Ahead Of Time

If your loved one requires any special seating arrangements, wheelchair access or other accommodations, be sure to arrange with the travel company or airline personnel before travel time. If there are any surgical implants or medical devices that might set off metal detectors at security checkpoints, be sure to allow extra time and arrange for special screening procedures as well.

  1. Pack Lightly And Keep Important Items Accessible

Minimizing the burden of excess or heavy baggage is extremely helpful for senior travel, especially you’re traveling with a loved one that requires special care or assistance. Be sure to keep essential items convenient at all times, including medication, important documents and phone numbers, snacks and drinks, warm clothing, a hat, travel pillow, and some form of lightweight entertainment. Keep them in a carry-on bag and not checked or stowed away.

  1. Plan a Schedule That Is Predictable, Convenient and Includes Downtime

Maintaining a predictable schedule is especially important for seniors traveling with Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions to help reduce stress, anxiety and confusion. Be sure to plan activities and travel that take into consideration your loved one’s mobility and energy level; don’t try cramming too many things into one day. Be sure to schedule plenty of downtime for rest and relaxation, and avoid rushing to make travel connections.

These guidelines should serve as a helpful resource in preparing for senior travel. Again, be sure to take into account the specific needs and limitations of your loved ones when planning for travel of any distance, and think through all aspects of the trip. With careful and thoughtful preparation, traveling with seniors can be a fun and pleasant experience for everyone involved.

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