5 tips for vacationing with an elderly parent
Instead of fun and relaxing, for many, vacationing with an elderly parent can be overwhelming and stressful. The best approach for keeping things more relaxed and enjoyable is to get organized and plan ahead. In doing so, it is more likely that vacationing with your elderly parent can be a memorable experience that you can both cherish for years to come.
The ultimate goal is to plan a vacation everyone will enjoy, while also ensuring that Mom or Dad remains healthy and safe. To help you achieve that goal, below are 5 tips that will come in handy when vacationing with an elderly parent:
- Check with a physician first- One of the most important items on your pre- travel checklist should be getting clearance from your parent’s physician. This is especially important if Mom or Dad has a restrictive health condition that may make vacationing more complex. The doctor will be able to approve the destination as safe for travel and provide recommendations regarding medical facilities in your vacation destination, should a need arise. Doctors are also a good source for travel tips. Consider asking your doctor for any
- Organize documents and identification- Consider creating a folder of all necessary documents and identifications including driver’s licenses, passports, travel tickets, medical insurance cards, prescriptions, etc. Make photo copies of each just in case. This is a good travel tip for any age traveler, but it is especially important when traveling with a senior that may have special health needs.
- Arrange for special accommodations – Planning for necessary accommodations is vital when vacationing with an elderly parent. Make a quick phone call to the airline to make accommodations such as a wheelchair at the airport and special seating on the flight. The hotels or rental property may have options for rooms with shower bars and wheelchair accessibility.
- Pack light and smart- Pack light. You will not want to be lugging around a bunch of bags through airport security. Your main focus in the airport will be making sure everything goes smoothly so you and your parent get to the gate on time and that their accommodations are met. Avoid checking luggage whenever possible, packing all items into a carry-on suitcase. If you need more room, bring along a backpack or tote with any medications and documentation that need to be easily accessible.
- Plan breaks in the schedule – It can be tempting to “over plan” your vacation to fill your time and make the most of your trip. But a full schedule can be exhausting for an elderly parent. Putting together an itinerary in advance can be helpful, but remember to keep some open spaces for your parent to rest and to reduce becoming overwhelmed.
Being proactive will help you and Mom or Dad eliminate the chance of stress situation arising. It will also you a greater opportunity for enjoying your time together. The key to a relaxing vacation with your elderly parent is planning. In the weeks leading up to the trip, keep a checklist of items to pack, appointments, trip itinerary, and travel accommodations. This is also good advice for day trips as well. At Paradise Living Centers, we plan quarterly outings for our residents and we always check the accommodation for wheelchair access, restrooms and other needs our seniors may have. To learn more about Paradise Living Centers, visit our website for resources and don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you might have.