Enjoying Summer Travel With Your Senior
When it comes to spending “quality time” with an elderly parent, taking a vacation together may be just the ticket. Whether it’s to another country or simply another part of the state, travel can be a life-and relationship-enriching experience.
If you’ve never vacationed with your parent before, there are several good reasons to consider it a “must do” experience:
- You’ll have the chance to connect with one another as adults. It’s an opportunity to better appreciate who they are as a person, and how your relationship has changed with age.
- You can get a better sense of how well your parent is doing physically, mentallyand emotionally. (This is especially helpful if your loved one routinely brushes off health questions with the rote response “I’m doing fine.”)
- You can enjoy quality time together—and if you include your own children in a multi-generational family trip, grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy uninterrupted time to bond and create special memories.
In our own Hearthstone Senior Living family, we’ve seen that traveling with a parent can be one of the most meaningful vacations ever.
No need to go it alone
If you’re not a person who likes to put together all the details of a trip, consider looking into a tour or cruise. Not only will you and your loved one have lots of company on your vacation, there are countless options tailored to fit your desired destination, activities and budget. Better yet, these options provide preplanned schedules and entertainment, so you don’t have to be the travel director. Tours and cruises are totally organized, operated and staffed to deliver a comfortable and enjoyable vacation, even for folks with special needs or disabilities.
Tips for smoother travel
Planning ahead will help reduce stress for you and your loved one, no matter where your journey leads. Here are some top tips to keep in mind, especially if you’re flying or traveling long distances:
- Try to fly non-stop
By eliminating connecting flights, you’ll minimize the chance of missing a connection and reduce the overall travel time (both are worth it, even if the fare is higher.) A mid-morning or early afternoon flight can also be less taxing on your loved one than very early or late-night flights.
- Reserve special services
This can include special seat assignments for disabled travelers and wheelchair services at the airport. If your senior has special dietary needs, let the airline know. Make—and confirm—all these requests when you make your reservations.
- Have documents ready
Know what identification and paperwork you need to travel, domestically or internationally. Within the states, a U.S. passport is accepted everywhere by TSA security. (By 2020, your Oregon driver’s license may no longer be considered valid identification to fly under the Real ID Act of 2005.)
- Always carry-on medications
Don’t put important medications in checked baggage, as luggage can be lost or you could experience travel delays. Put prescriptions in a one-quart zippered freezer bag, leaving them in the original containers. Print out a dosing schedule to make sure your loved one doesn’t miss necessary medications.
- Streamline security checks
Seniors 75 and older don’t have to remove their shoes or light jackets, and those in wheelchairs receive priority service from the TSA. Let security know about any surgical implants that could set off alarms; having a physician’s statement about the implanted steel will speed the screening process.
- Have a health plan
Let your loved one’s doctor know about the trip beforehand, to get any special medical instructions or advice. Research the closest hospital/care center and pharmacy to your destination and take a list of your loved one’s medications and diagnoses along with you.
Take time to relax
During your vacation, it’s important to make sure your senior gets enough rest. While it may be normal for you to jam-pack as many activities as possible into each day, that might be too much for your loved one. Adjust your pace so you don’t wear them out.
Plan on a “less is more” itinerary; choosing activities thoughtfully and including ample breaks and down time. For some seniors, one activity before lunch is plenty, followed by a rest between lunch and dinner. If younger children are part of the trip, it’s easier to naturally follow a more relaxed pace, making an inter-generational vacation a wonderful idea. (And a grandparent may be happy to watch little ones in the evening, while mom and dad enjoy a night out together!)
Remember that traveling with a senior may require you to take things more slowly than you normally would, but that’s one of the unexpected benefits-by traveling more mindfully, you may find yourself feeling a lot more relaxed during the trip.
Enjoying life together
At Hearthstone Senior Living, our communities are designed to maximize seniors’ well-being and to keep families actively involved in our residents’ daily lives. We love having family members visit and take part in our many activities!
To get a first-hand experience of our locally based, family operated communities, we invite you to call and set up a personal tour and lunch at Hearthstone (or schedule one now). We look forward to meeting you.
12520 SW Hart Road
Beaverton, OR 97008
10880 SW Davies Road
Beaverton, OR 97008