Travel enriches our understanding of the world and bring us together with the people we love — regardless of age. Although traveling with the elderly could be more challenging, it is far from impossible. All that’s required is a little extra preparation. If you or a loved one is considering traveling in the near future, take a look over the following considerations that can help save you time (and save your sanity) while on the road.
1. Plan, plan, plan
Book all flights, lodging, and transportation well in advance. Search for travel that is the most short and direct, as longer flights or quick connections can be extra uncomfortable for older bodies. If possible, plan to travel in the off-season to avoid crowds.
2. Call your airline and hotel
A short phone call can go a long way in making sure that you or your loved one can travel with ease. Check if your airline offers any senior discounts or pre-boarding, and ask to be seated in rows designated for disabled travelers for more attentive service. If walking poses a challenge, ask to have a wheelchair arranged; wheelchair assistance is free if staffed by an airport employee.
Call your hotel to make sure that the hotel has elevators, safety rails in the bathrooms, and easy access to main attractions. The hotel can also provide valuable information about the local public transportation system, which can help you plan how you’ll get around in your destination. If public transportation is unavailable or not suited to your needs and you don’t plan to rent a car, ask the hotel to recommend a private driver; often you can make a deal that will save money as compared to taxis or other private transportation.
3. Pack smart
Honestly assess your needs during your trip and pack just the essentials. A light bag will make getting around much easier. Also, pack all of your medication and other emergency needs, such as a medical card or a doctor’s phone number, in an easy-to-access area in your carry-on bag. Never put your medicine in a checked bag in case it gets lost.
4. Consult your doctor about medical needs
Check with your doctor to make sure that you are cleared for a healthy trip. Make sure that your destination can accommodate any limitations, and that your vaccinations are all up to date. Have your doctor write down the generic name of your medications in case you need more while you’re traveling. Sometimes, it’s easier to refill a generic name if different brand names exist, or if you’re traveling abroad.
5. Prepare documentation
Be sure that you have an up-to-date passport (if traveling abroad) or government-issued photo identity card for domestic travel. Print out extra copies of all tickets and itineraries ahead of time, and keep them in separate bags, like a carry on and a checked bag. Put a copy of your photo ID in your carry on bag, as well. Be sure to bring any medical documents, like proof of insurance and medical statements, and consider providing wearing identification for loved ones with dementia.
6. Consider booking with a travel agent
The easiest way to make sure that all of your ducks are in a row for a smooth trip is to book with a travel agent. Ask for an agent who specializes in geriatric travel if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of doing it all yourself. Many agents have no up-front fees, making it an inexpensive investment in your trip.
If you or a loved one needs help traveling or carrying out other daily activities, consider bringing a qualified care provider into your home. American In-Home Care always refers qualified, screened, care providers that are compassionate and ready to help. Contact us at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule your free in-home consultation to discuss which care options are right for you and your family.