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Make Travel Easy On Your Senior 
by Wendy L. Jackson June 07, 2005

I’m sure that your parents can reminisce about the days when they lugged a passel of screaming kids, and all the stuff that go along with them, on a trip. Now that your parents are climbing up into their senior/elderly years, they shouldn’t feel as if they are destined to be homebodies for the rest of their lives.

Make Travel Easy On Your Senior

I’m sure that your parents can reminisce about the days when they lugged a passel of screaming kids, and all the stuff that go along with them, on a trip. Now that your parents are climbing up into their senior/elderly years, they shouldn’t feel as if they are destined to be homebodies for the rest of their lives. It’s not hard to travel with a senior, in fact, the trip can be rather enjoyable. The key is to perceive things through the eyes of your senior, and do everything you can to make the experience comfortable for everyone.

Necessary Paper Work For Any Trip

The first thing you need to do before you leave to go anywhere with a senior, is to make sure that all of their medical information is written down. A copy should be kept with your senior, and you should keep one, as well. This paper should list the senior’s name, address, contact phone number, doctors phone number, list of all medications your senior takes, allergies, and any health conditions he or she may have. It is good to also list any prior hospitalizations that your senior may have had, along with their blood type. Having this documentation with you will make any medical issues that arise on your trip go easier to deal with. You can simply hand over the papers to the treating physician. This will save you worry over forgetting anything important, and it will also ensure that your senior receives the correct medical care in an emergency.

Air Travel With Your Senior

If you are traveling by plane on your trip, you should book your flight away from peak hours. You should notify the airline of any special conditions that your senior may have, such as a walker or wheelchair. You can also request that a cart or tram be available for your senior if the boarding gate is miles away from the airport entrance. You may also want to consider getting information about the boarding procedures, as well as baggage handling. This may save you unnecessary stress when you and your senior do arrive at the airport. When you pack for a flight, you should carry all medication in a carry on bag in case luggage is lost. If luggage is lost, you can be confident that your senior will at least have their medications. If you are on a flight that is short and you will not have food provided, pack a little something for you and your loved one to nibble on during the flight. If your senior seems to chill easily, make sure that they receive a blanket, or that you have an extra jacket in your carry on bag.

Ship Travel With Your Senior

A cruise is a favorite of many seniors. Once they are aboard the ship, they don’t have to worry about any more traveling. They can enjoy the restaurants, soak up the sun, and participate in the many numerous shipboard activities. If you are making your cruise reservations through a travel agent, there are some important things that you should make them aware of. Let them know if your senior will need wheelchair/walker access, if your senior uses these devices. Tell the travel agent that you want to be aboard a cruise liner that has elevator access to each deck. Make sure that the cruise line is notified of any pre-existing health conditions of your senior. At some ports during a cruise individuals are required to board a smaller craft to reach the shore due to some cruise liners being too large to dock. See if this is the case in the cruise you are considering. This may be hard for your senior to do. You can always choose to stay on the ship, just make sure that there is something for you and your senior to do if you stay aboard.

Road Trip With Your Senior

You may be traveling by car with your senior. If that is the case, you should have your seniors doctor fill out a paper that will allow you to place a disability sticker in your car. This will ensure that your senior is not having to walk a mile to enter a restaurant, or tourist attraction.

While traveling you should provide extra padding for the seat your elder will be sitting in. You can use a seat cushion, or small pillow. This will be easier on their back ends, as well as give them an extra boost to see out the window. You should make regular rest stops. Don’t wait for your senior to ask, either. These stops need to last at least fifteen minutes, allowing everyone a chance to stretch their limbs. Also, have a cooler available with cold drinks and snacks. You should also see about becoming a member in a roadside assistance program. Nothing is worse than being stranded.

Information Once You Have Arrived

Once you have arrived at your destination, you should make sure that the remainder of your time away from home goes as smoothly as the trip. If you and your senior are enjoying a meal at a restaurant, why not request a table that is close to the door? If you are planning on taking in a movie, purchase the tickets in advance so you both won’t have to stand in line, later. And, as always, do not reserve a room on a floor above ground level unless the resort or hotel has an elevator. Check with the hotel when you make reservations to see if they offer a breakfast on the house. Even a hotel that offers coffee and muffins will benefit you and your senior over one that does not. Having this option available will allow you the extra time in the morning to prepare for your day, without worrying that your senior is going hungry.

These are just a few tips that will make travel with your senior enjoyable for everyone. As always, you should check with any facility that you plan on visiting to verify that they do cater to seniors. Those facilities that do not should be avoided until they understand that with the growing population of retirees and senior citizens today they will have to accommodate them, or lose your business.


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