The beach. The mountains. A fun new city to explore. It’s the height of summer and people across the country are setting off for fun and exciting vacation destinations. For families that are vacationing with older loved ones, there may be a few more considerations before heading off. For example, does a loved one have special mobility or dietary needs? What essentials should be packed to ensure the senior feels comfortable?
With some careful planning, summer vacation can be enjoyable for the whole family. Use the tips below to plan a trip that you and the older adults you love can enjoy.
- Make a realistic plan. When it’s vacation time, it can be easy to set lofty goals. Many of us want to go all out during our time off — hit the waves, hike the mountain, and see everything possible. However, when traveling with older loved ones, it is important to set realistic goals for your vacation. These should take into account the senior’s mobility and health. Will you need a wheelchair accessible hotel room? Will flying or driving be more comfortable/accessible? Will you need access to any medical equipment during travel? Will everyone be able to participate in vacation activities? Will there be time and places for the senior to rest if needed? When planning your vacation, sit down as a family and work out an itinerary that allows for fun for everyone while keeping needs top of mind.
- Pack all prescriptions and medical devices. When packing, make sure to pack all prescription medications and bring extra doses as well. If you plan on flying, make sure to keep medications in carry-ons, keep them in their original containers, and check with the senior’s physician to see if any special documentation is required to travel with the medicine.
- Maintain as much routine as possible. If you are traveling with a loved one who has cognitive issues, such as dementia, sticking as closely to the person’s routine as possible is important. Bring along some familiar objects from home, such as pictures, a beloved blanket, a special mug, etc. Try to keep meals on a routine, too. This can help the person feel more at home even when somewhere else.
- Take caregiving in shifts. While on vacation, it is important to feel like you’re actually on vacation. This can be challenging when you’re also caring for an older loved one. Make a plan to take shifts with other family members to ensure that everyone gets to participate in activities they enjoy, while also having time to relax.
- Have an emergency plan. At home or on vacation, anything can happen. Make sure to take a full list of your loved one’s medications (both prescriptions and over-the-counter), and have their physician’s contact information available at all times. If traveling by car, make sure to pack bottled water, a first aid kit, and some non-perishable food such as energy bars in case of heavy traffic or an unexpected break down that requires waiting for assistance.
With a bit of planning, vacationing with older loved ones can be relaxing, enjoyable, and memorable. For an additional layer of support while on vacation, Nightingale Homecare’s expert caregivers can help. Our in-home care providers can travel with your family and provide professional care services so both you and your loved one can enjoy this time away. Contact our team at (602) 878-3098 to learn more about how our senior care services can help a loved one both at home and on the go.