Caregiving on Vacation: 6 Tips for Traveling With Your Loved One

Caregiving on Vacation: 6 Tips for Traveling With Your Loved One

Are you planning a trip with your senior relative? The great news is that you can travel confidently together and enjoy your time away. Careful planning will help; whether your relative is in an early retirement living community or a senior care nursing home complex.

Consult With Their Physician

Speak to your relative’s doctor prior to a trip to confirm they are well enough to travel, and to ensure they have all required prescriptions. You may want to ask about anti-anxiety medications or sedatives to help them stay calm if they have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Their physician might recommend additional travel tips.

Be Prepared

To start your trip on the right foot, rest up the night before; travel days are always busy. Pack for yourself and for your relative, and have all clothes laid out for the morning. Here are other ways to stay organized and help your relative:

Try to keep the same routine to avoid causing stress

Dress comfortably and place medications in the bag that stays with you at all times. Include lists of all medications, full insurance card information and your relative’s medical history.

Keep all boarding passes, tickets, and identifications in your bag.

If your relative likes certain snacks, pack these items as well. Familiar foods can help them stay calm while traveling.

Bring a photo of your relative in case they wander off. Remember what they are wearing, which will help if you have to give a description to security or local police. Some seniors can become disoriented in unfamiliar surroundings.

Consider putting an I.D. bracelet or GPS identification bracelet on your relative with their name, your name, and your cell phone number.

Have extra money in case you need to alter plans or cancel your trip if it’s too stressful for your relative.

Keep It Familiar

To help your travel companion stay calm, keep familiar things around them. Let them have a favorite blanket, a special pillow, their favorite pajamas, warm socks and a special sweater. In warmer climates, pack a light sweater, hat, sunblock, bug spray, wet naps and hand sanitizers. Keep these items handy in your carry-on bag.

If your relative likes computer games, let them play on a charged tablet; remember to pack a back-up with a charger. Play their favorite music, have playing cards handy, or set up a tablet with favorite games or favorite apps.

On Flights

A travel day isn’t the time to introduce flying. Routines are best. With flights, book direct flights and ask attendants if you can board first; ask for wheelchair assistance if required.

Give your companion something to eat along with a few sips of water, and pay attention to the altitude in case there’s too much pressure in their ears. If a physician recommends anti-anxiety pills or sedatives, give these medications at the prescribed time before flights.

At Hotels

At hotels, ask for childproof locks for the doors, rooms without sliding glass doors and rooms with bathroom guard rails. Get a room on a quieter floor away from the traffic and elevator. Put out the Do Not Disturb sign so there won’t be sudden knocks on the door. If you need wheelchair assistance, alert the front desk. Hotel staff can help if you need to transfer your companion from a chair to the bed. Ask for special bed railings if needed.

In the Car

If you are traveling by car, take special precautions if your relative has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Ensure their seatbelt is always on while traveling, and keep child safety locks engaged. This can help if a senior panics and tries to open the car door while you are driving. If they become agitated, pull over on the side of the road to assist them. Never try to assist them while you are driving. Stop periodically for rest breaks, and stay on track with their medication schedules.

While you may have to stop for bathroom breaks, avoid crowded rest areas. If you need to stock up on groceries for a condo rental or hotel, consider having the items delivered. Grocery shopping might require too much walking for a senior, and children tend to run in and out of the aisles.

Contact Us

If you are a caregiver and are interested in learning more about an active retirement living community or senior home care and hospice care, know that the Aurum Network can help. As part of the Senior Care Network, Aurum offers senior memory care, rehab, and skilled nursing services. They can help with your assisted living Massachusetts needs and provide the best early education information for caregivers. For more information contact us today! 

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