How To Plan A Trip With Aging Parents:- What best way could be to bond with your aging parents, than taking them on a family trip. But, you will require special planning for such a trip.
When you are going on a family trip with your aging parents, ensure you have the correct information about their medical histories and pack medication as required. Make the appropriate arrangements with your hotel or airline, if they have mobility issues and include these issues into your itinerary. Work with your parents to schedule a trip and itinerary that you can all agree on and enjoy.
Ways To Plan A Trip With Aging Parents
A) Thinking Ahead
1) Make Arrangements For Medication
Get enough supplies of any medications your aging parents might need. Keep medications in their original bottles. In a clear plastic bag, put each bottle or a container labeled with its name, dosage size, frequency, and administration instructions.
The airport security checkpoints might not allow medications without this information. If you are traveling abroad, your parents must have prescriptions and medication descriptions translated into an appropriate language. For example, if you are traveling to Brazil, the information in the prescription should be in Portuguese. This information could save their life, in the event of a medical emergency.
Just in case you need to get hold of them, take the numbers of your parents’ doctors’. Make sure you carry on your prescriptions if traveling by a plane, and do not pack them in baggage that you are checking in. By doing this way, you will still have your medication, even though if in case your luggage is lost.
2) Pack Travel Essentials
Bringing along certain things is a good idea to make your trip smoother. It is a good idea to have painkillers like aspirin on hand, so are small snack bars for occasions when you are off on a tour, without something to eat.
Make sure aspirin and other over-the-counter medicine will not intervene with prescription of your parents. Be sure to pack if your parents have specific foods that they cannot live without or need to be on a soft-food diet for medical reasons. If you are traveling to a foreign country, where you are not used to the water, get anti-diarrhea medicine if you think it might be necessary.
3) Get Travel Insurance
Older people are at greater risk of sickness and injury. Hence, by getting travel insurance it is always a good idea to plan against something bad happening.
Encourage your parents to contact their regular health or life insurance companies about taking out a policy that covers them while traveling. Few travel insurance firms beyond a certain age, do not provide policies on individuals. Make sure to check a particular policy for restrictions according to age.
While, other firms do not provide policies to people with certain pre-existing conditions. Check the fine print on any policy and to ensure they get the most comprehensive travel insurance coverage, have your parents ask specific questions relating to their health.
4) Make Accommodations For Wheelchair-Bound Parents
You have several options, if your aging parents use wheelchairs. You could contact the airline about carrying a wheelchair onto the flight with you. If you want to bring an electric wheelchair or a wheelchair that has functions that others might not, this might be your best option.
Make your traveling easy by renting a travel power wheel chair. You can disassemble and reassembled in another these wheel chairs in one place. With the help of a travel agent, you could arrange a wheel chair rental at your destination. Often, hotels give wheel chairs to guests.
When deciding how long you will need to connect to flights, catch trains or buses, and make other travel arrangements, be sure to factor the added time wheelchairs may add to your itinerary. Plan on pre-boarding, as traveling in a wheelchair will probably, extend the time it takes to clear security checkpoints in airports. It is often free carrying your own wheelchair onto an airplane .
The agents will also be available at airports, whose job is to help people with disabilities and aid them get around the airport. They can also help you get through the TSA checkpoint, perhaps faster.Check with your airline to see if you can have a wheelchair or golf cart ready for your parent when you get off the airplane.
This can make it easier to get your baggage or to get to a connecting flight.
5) Break Up Your Flight
Especially for aging parents, sleeping and being comfortable on airplanes can be hard. Avoid achy, cramped joints and muscles, by traveling in long direct flights, so that your parents can decompress.
Encourage your aging parents to get up and walk around frequently, if you do get stuck on a long flight. Moving once every 30 minutes or so keeps the blood circulating and prevents stiffness and pain later.
You must be careful doing this with people that have Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. It may be better to have a direct flight. People with such conditions tend to get easily confused and if they do not fly directly, there are some potential dangers.
B) Hitting The Road
1) Plan on Stopping Frequently
You should plan to stop at least once every two hours, if you are traveling by car. Doing this way, will give your aging parents time to stretch, use the bathroom, eat, and get something to drink as needed.
A general problem experienced while on planes, is deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots that can cause swelling) in the legs. Getting out of the car, helps prevent this condition. While on the bus or plane, you may want to encourage your parent to get up and stand or walk around a bit.
You will have no control over how often you stop, if you are traveling by bus. But, most of the buses stop every two hours or so. When the bus stops, encourage your aging parents to get off the bus and stretch for some time.
2) Check The Condition Of Your Car Before You Hit The Road
Before hitting the road on your car, ensure the tank is full and the headlights, tail lights, and signal lights are operational. Test the brakes, heat, and air conditioning. Take the car to a mechanic for a tune-up, and explain to him or her that you are going on a trip and want the vehicle in shipshape.
Nothing will make the trip more unpleasant or, depending on the weather, dangerous than a car that breaks down.
3) Pack Emergency Supplies
There is always the chance that your car breaks down, even if you get a tune-up and everything looks fine. Pack jumper cables, a tire iron, and a spare tire, if in case the worst happens. A GPS, an ice scraper, a quart of two of motor oil, and a spare gallon of gasoline are the other things that might come in handy.
4) Get To Your Destination Early
Most aging parents tend to wake up early and go to bed early. Therefore, try to plan your trip in such a way that accommodates their natural rhythms. Plan on getting in the car early in the morning or book passage on a bus or train that leaves early. At the end of the day, this will give you time to unpack, eat, and relax.
5) Bring Creature Comforts
If you and your parents are comfortable a long road trip can be made more enjoyable. Especially if traveling during cold months, bring pillows and blankets. Bring a portable DVD player or tablet to watch movies. To pass the time on a long trip, books are also a good way.
6) Schedule Slow-Moving Tours
Travelers with limited time who want to see everything they can as quickly as possible, most travel agencies cater to such needs. However, there are certain tour agencies that provide gentle tours. It is advisable to talk to your travel agent about the availability of tours specifically aimed at older folks, or tours that move at a more relaxed pace.
For elderly people, cruises make excellent, slow-moving trips. Many comforts and amenities on board, are offered by cruise ships and allow passengers to explore the various ports of call at their own pace for a limited amount of time. About going on a cruise together, it is better to talk to your parents.
7) Book Your Hotels Carefully
Call ahead and ensure that the hotel has an elevator and/or wheelchair ramps. Consider booking hotel rooms with disabled access or safety-equipped bathroom facilities.
When traveling, it is important to give both your parents and yourself a comfortable amount of privacy. Book separate rooms for you and your parents.
8) Be Careful Of Steps
They might not be able to accommodate going up steps, depending on your parents health. While it is often difficult to know exactly where you encounter steps in a historic city or tourist attraction, try to anticipate which places will be off-limits.
Opt for subways and taxis rather than trains and buses, if steps are an issue.