Families across the world travel during the holiday season to visit their loved ones and spend time with relatives they don’t see often enough during the rest of the year. As fun as these times are, extended travel can be hard on all of us, especially senior citizens. The difficulties that arise from busy roads, shifting plans and accommodation searching can often overwhelm seniors. This is why caring for your elderly family member should be a top priority when traveling over the holidays.
The idea of traveling can seem especially scary to seniors coping with memory concerns. Diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, can often trigger frustration and anxiety when daily routines are changed. Caregivers who travel with elderly family members are often stretched to the limit as well. Fortunately, there are some effective ways you can minimize the stress your elder family member experiences during holiday travel.
- Have A Plan. It’s important to always have a game plan before traveling with elderly family members. You’ll want to consider writing up a schedule to discuss with your loved one. Sharing these plans with your elderly family member will help them feel included and prepared, helping to minimize travel anxiety.
- Get Organized. Take the time to organize any medicine needed and store them a place that is easy to access. Make copies of important documents, such as medical records and prescription doses and schedules. These will help you care for your elderly family member should an emergency arise. If needed, you can use these documents to formulate an emergency plan of action. You’ll rest easier knowing your elderly family member will receive proper care if any difficulties should arise.
- Ask for Help. Ask about special accommodations for elderly family members traveling under your care. Most airlines offer special rows for passengers with disabilities, which makes traveling easier for seniors who use wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility equipment. You’ll also want to ask hotels and restaurants if they have any special accommodations for relatives coping with dietary or other restrictions.
- Take Your Time. Never forget to take your time. If travel plans are rushed in any way, your senior family member’s discomfort levels will inevitably rise. Always plan extra time for travel delays and other unforeseen holdups.
Holiday traveling doesn’t have to be difficult when caring for your elderly family member. Take the right steps to ensure a smooth journey and visit so everyone can enjoy the holiday season.