Whether traveling by flight, car, or other means, planning and traveling on a trip with the whole family can be very tedious. And while it is apparent to plan for younger travelers, sometimes older loved ones are not always so obvious to plan for. It’s good to keep in mind that even if seniors are without ongoing health concerns, they are still at a higher risk of dehydration or muscle fatigue. Down below we have gathered 8 important holiday tips when traveling with seniors.
1. Medication Management
If traveling by flight, it’s key to keep at least a week’s supply of medications on your person. Nearly all airlines will allow this amount of medications without questioning. For this reason, keep a small supply and pack the rest in a check bag for longer travel itineraries. For those who take liquid medication, work with their doctor to get documentation as proof that the medications are needed to be kept close at hand.
2. Stretch Your Body
Senior travelers are at risk for vein thrombosis, so it’s important to have some type of movement during long car rides, flights, and other means of travel. For ease of access, try to get seniors seats near the aisle for it to make it easier to stand and stretch. In a car and commuting, be sure to stop every now and then to walk around and stretch out their body.
3. Maintain a Plan
Consider writing up an itinerary to discuss with your loved one to make sure you always have a plan before traveling with them. With these plans in place, your elderly family members will know what to expect and how to be prepared for the upcoming trip. Doing all this will minimize anxiety for traveling and arriving.
4. Plan Accommodations
Inquire about accommodations for your elderly loved ones traveling with you. Many airlines offer special rows or discounts for elderly passengers and those with disabilities, which makes traveling easier for those utilizing walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility equipment. Ask ahead for hotels, AirBnbs, restaurants, resorts, or other areas you frequent if they have special accommodations regarding dietary and mobility accessibility.
5. Maintain Hydration & Nutrition
Dehydration affects everyone, not only seniors. That said, seniors flying are at a higher risk of dehydration, so it’s a great idea to keep a water bottle to drink while traveling. In addition, it may be a good idea to have a few snacks like nuts or energy bars at hand to keep energy levels up or take with medications.
6. Dress for the Weather
Whether you all are traveling to cold or hot weather, be prepared to make sure your loved one has all the essentials. For cold weather, make sure they have jackets, sweaters, leggings, warm socks, and proper shoes to avoid hypothermia, catching a cold, or other cold weather afflictions. In warmer weather, be sure to include sunscreen, shorts, lip balm, hats, and other appropriate necessities to prevent heat stroke, dehydration, or other warm weather afflictions.
7. Schedule Extra Time
Leave early to your travel destinations to prevent rushing. Keep in mind that some seniors and loved ones need more time than younger people when traveling. Plan extra time between travel destinations as well so there is time to rest and any other concerns that may arise.
8. Wi-Fi Network Safety
While free Wi-Fi is available in many locations, many seniors aren’t always savvy to use a source that is verified. If possible, set them up on the right networks to avoid being vulnerable to their documents or banking information being stolen.