The holiday season means celebrating with family and friends. In order to get to your next holiday party, you may have to jump in the car or board an airplane. Traveling during the holiday season can be stressful, but the effort is always worth it when you arrive at your final destination. No matter if you are traveling to the next town over or a few states away, your normal travel routines can be disrupted if you are traveling with your senior loved one. Here are a few tips to keep your road trip or air travel traditions without adding extra stress or strain.
Before you begin planning your travel with your senior loved one, consider if you can make some changes to tradition to make it more pleasant for your loved one. For example, do you have to stay at the celebration all day as you have in the past, or can you arrive with your loved one for just a few hours so they aren’t exhausted, overstimulated, or anxious throughout the day? Can you shorten your trip by a few days in order to get your loved one back home sooner so they are more comfortable?
Changing plans or traditions can feel sad and you may grieve the traditions that you once had. However, you will find that adapting your travel to make your senior loved one more comfortable will make your time together more meaningful, healthy, and happy.
Before you hit the road together, be sure you have phoned ahead to restaurants, hotels, or other destinations. Double-check accessibility if your loved one uses a wheelchair or walker, and add the closest hospital and pharmacy to your cell phone in case you need it while you are there. If you are taking a plane or train, call ahead to make sure you can get the assistance your loved one needs to get safely to the gate or departure area.
When packing your loved one’s bag for your day trip or multi-day trip, be sure to pack the essentials:
- Medications for the time you will be away, plus a few days extra just in case
- Extra sets of clothes and undergarments
- Incontinence products
- Wheelchair, walker, etc.
If your loved one needs a wheelchair or walker for the trip but doesn’t have one they usually use at home, call your town’s senior services department. Often, they have a rental closet of devices you can check out to use in the short-term.
Finally, leaving home for the day can create some anxiety in your loved one, even if they are excited to attend the holiday celebration. These feelings of anxiety can be intensified if your loved one has dementia. To combat any confusion or anxiety, consider bringing a few items of comfort for your loved one: a favorite blanket or sweater, comfortable slippers, and a photo book everyone can look at and reminisce with.
Consider Respite or Companionship
Finally, you may determine that holiday travel this year is not in the best interest of your senior loved one. If this is the case, call CaringGivers. We can set up a plan for respite care for your loved one while you are away. We offer a variety of services and come into your loved one’s home to provide companionship, assistance, and holiday cheer.
Call our offices today to tell us more about your holiday travel situation. We would be honored to help.