Travelling with the elderly: 5 things to consider
Thursday, 8 December 2011
There's nothing better than a family day out, but sometimes talking an elderly parent or grandparent with you can pose a unique set of challenges. Without some advanced preparation, your dream trip can turn into a stressful experience for both you and your loved ones. With this in mind, here are five top tips for travelling with the elderly.
1. Plan ahead
It sounds obvious, but good planning can take all the stress out of your trip and leave you to enjoy quality time with your family.
Call ahead to your destination and double check what facilities they have for elderly visitors. Make sure all the activities are easily accessible, if you need to check whether there is wheelchair access then do so and try and get an idea of the layout of a place before setting off.
Make sure there is a café or restaurant on-site so the whole family can take a break and refuel during the day. If you need to make any special arrangements, then make sure you do this in plenty of time and ring before you leave to double check they have been put in place.
2. Consider the length of your journey
Different types of journeys require different solutions, so keep this in mind when planning a trip. The longer the journey, the more there is to think about.
Be sure to make plenty of toilet stops and if your journey is particularly lengthy, you may want to consider swapping the driving responsibilities or alternatively factor a series of rest stops into your journey time.
3. Think about mobility aids
There are loads of great mobility aids to help your senior family members get around, so think about what you need before you reach your destination.
It could be something simple like a pair of crutches or a walking stick, which are perfect for many people and easy to transport. The same can be said for a wheelchair, and whether you have your own, or need one when you get there, make sure you organise this in advance.
For more complex mobility needs call your destination and ask whether they have items such as mobility scooters for hire. These can be perfect for more strenuous activities but if you definitely need one, ring ahead and reserve one for the duration of your stay to save disappointment.
4. Ensure comfort every step of the way
If you know someone who suffers from bladder weakness a good product to recommend is subtle incontinence briefs that will be a real benefit in any situation. Designed for ultra-absorbency, helpful products like these look like regular underwear with a hidden benefit, affording the wearer a discreet solution, enhanced confidence and peace of mind. Great for everyday wear these can come in especially handy whilst travelling.
While activities are a great way to involve everyone on a trip, consider which pursuits will appeal to the whole family. Getting out and about to enjoy your surroundings and sight-see is a basic part of any trip, however when you have mobility limitations this can prove difficult.
Once you've planned ahead and have arranged to hire any required mobility aids, it's worth reviewing what you plan to pack. In order to adequately support tired and aching feet a wise investment is a pair of stylish extra wide shoes, and don't underestimate the importance of good waterproofs.
5. Travelling abroad poses different challenges
If you are looking to travel further afield, then detailed planning is integral to having a great holiday. First thing's first, don't be over-ambitious and make sure there are plenty of intervals for rest and relaxation.
You never know what's going to happen when abroad so contingencies should always be planned for. Book a pre-travel consultation with your GP for your elderly family member and make sure you obtain good travel insurance for the whole family.
Choose destinations with Western-style medical facilities and infrastructure and remember the little details, such as storing any essential medication in your hand luggage.
There is no reason why the whole family can't enjoy some quality time together and with good planning and careful consideration, a day trip or sunny getaway can be the perfect tonic for you and your loved ones.
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