Summer is a great time for people of any age and summer often means travel. Just because you are caring for a senior doesn’t mean that you both have to stay put. There are lots of opportunities for travel from short to long trips but you need to be prepared. Here are some tips to make traveling with a senior a bit easier.
Consult with the health care practitioner
Your senior is likely under the regular care of a physician. The doctor should be consulted about your travel plans before you make them. He or she may have some tips or suggested limitations that you need to follow. In addition, he or she may have some advice for how to handle any medical issues that may come up.
Make special arrangements ahead of time
Many travel organizations and hotels can accommodate senior travel needs but it is best to plan ahead. If your elder is in a wheelchair, be sure to notify the airline, train service or bus line or of any boarding assistance that is needed. In many cases, a travel agent can handle this for you but you will have to deal with some things on your own. Remember that TSA regulations may require shoe removal and will inspect carry on bags so check for the current requirements. You will also need to be prepared to explain any metal or other surgical implants that the senior may have. This may take additional time as a special security scan may be required.
Be ready with travel documentation
It isn’t enough to rely on the senior to make sure he or she has required identification and travel documents. As you will be the one tackling any issues, make sure that government picture ID’s are current, passports and visas are in order, travel tickets are available, and your itinerary is at hand. All of the necessary documents should likely be carried by you, with the exception of picture, passport and any visas which are best kept on your senior’s person. Consider a neck pouch which can be comfortably worn under the shirt, making it secure and difficult to pickpocket.
Make sure he or she has a secure way to contact you. Consider getting a temporary cell phone or prepaid phone cards. Make sure he or she knows your phone number, that of at least one other person and that numbers are programmed into a cell phone.
Pack essential items lightly
You will need to carry on certain essentials. You will need medication for at least the duration of the trip and several days after in the case of lost luggage. Some light entertainment, a sweater, snacks, and a travel pillow might be useful but limit what you take on the transportation to what you can carry and manage.
Traveling with a senior can be fun and rewarding if you are prepared!