It is the most wonderful time of the year – for family get-togethers! With so many families separated by geographic distance, or simply by the demands of life, we all look forward to the chance to reconnect with loved ones over the holiday season. And for older adults, the opportunity to spend quality time with family is especially invaluable.
Yet as enjoyable as family time is, the logistics of traveling with seniors can be complex. If your family’s matriarch or patriarch is going to be traveling to join in family festivities this holiday season, these guidelines can make the journey easier and much more comfortable for all:
- Meet Mobility Needs. No matter if a senior loved one requires a walker or wheelchair on a normal day or not, it is best to make arrangements to have mobility assistance accessible. Review the layout for the airport, train or bus station, hotel, etc. and check to ensure that a wheelchair may be rented if needed.
- Confirm Insurance Coverage. Review the older adult’s insurance coverage to make sure that any emergency needs would be covered. For example, if traveling overseas, Medicare coverage will not be available. Investigate travel insurance options, and check the U.S. Department of State’s website for assistance with international insurance options.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. Special services are offered for the elderly as well as others with certain needs, including preboarding on flights, help with handling baggage, accessibility accommodations at hotels – even such details as waterproof bed coverings for those who are incontinent. Do not hesitate to ask for what you need to help the older adult to be as comfortable as possible.
- Utilize Senior Discounts. A number of discounts are available to older adults, through AARP as well as through hotels, restaurants, major airlines, cruises, etc. With a little preplanning you can make sure you’re able to make the most of all savings for which the senior is entitled.
- Allow for Plenty of Downtime. Although our first thought could be to optimize time with family by taking in as many sights as possible, the truth is, traveling is draining, and it’s imperative to incorporate lots of time for your loved one to simply relax. And do not forget to include bathroom and meal/snack breaks – every 2 hours is best.
Above all, savor each moment of your time together with family this holiday season. Capture the memories through photographs, videos, and journaling, to allow the senior to relive the experiences upon returning home.
You may also want to consider engaging the services of the Compassionate Nursing Services care team to provide transportation accompaniment. Our knowledgeable, fully trained and qualified caregivers can ensure the senior’s needs are fully met throughout your family’s time together, providing everyone with a more relaxed and pleasurable experience. Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 to learn more about our home and memory care in St. Louis and the surrounding communities.