September 03, 2012
As the Baby Boomer Generation enters retirement age, many adult children have found themselves caring for their aging parents. It is true that people are staying more active for longer, but for many who have become disabled or have found aging to bring mobility issues, traveling is a luxury that goes to the wayside.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips for trip planning and traveling with your aging loved ones. (We’re going to use the term ‘parent’ to refer to the senior citizen, because most often it is adult children traveling with their aging parents who need some guidance.)
Research, Research, Research
Sometimes hesitation to travel exists because of the fear of the unknown. If you are traveling somewhere for a family vacation or for an event and your senior parents are coming along, spend some time showing your parent the places you’ll be heading, the hotel you’ll be staying in, and other resources that you can find online. The more familiar, the less intimidating the actual travel day will be.
Talk to the Hotel
Requesting a room on the first floor, or at the very least near the elevators, will make getting in and out of the hotel easier. If your parents use walkers, let the hotel know. Often there may be rooms that are better laid out for people with mobility issues. If there are medications that need refrigeration, let the hotel know and request a room with a mini-fridge.
Keep the Shoes On!
Did you know, you are not required to remove your shoes at the airport security checkpoint if you are physically unable to do so? Just tell the TSA agent that your parents can’t do it, and they will hand wand them and swab their shoes for explosive residue. This can make the whole airport security less stressful for everyone.
Request a Wheelchair
Even if your parents can walk, you can request wheelchair assistance to get through the airport if long walks or mobility is a challenge. Some airport walks can be quite long and it is better to take the help than having your parents to be exhausted before the trip begins. Also, you can request pre-boarding assistance to help avoid the crowds getting onto the plane.
Visit CARP and AARP
If the trip is specifically for your senior parents, you should take the time to visit the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) or American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) websites. They offer a lot of information on travel destinations that are ideal for seniors and include a wealth of good tips and suggestions for travel. These are just two places where you can learn about specific senior-friendly travel spots.
Talk to His or Her Doctor
Plan to accompany your parent to a doctor visit to specifically discuss the trip and receive any advice or consultation their doctor has on best managing your parents’ health while traveling. Discuss medications, obtain copies of any needed prescriptions (in case something happens), and discuss possible effects of the trip. Plan to be present so you can ask questions and hear first-hand what the doctor says.
Maker Sure Your Parents Rest
Any trip can be tiring. Extra walking, different routine, new foods, and the excitement of travel will take an extra toll on the body. Give your parents a bit of grace if he or she seems extra tired and make sure they get plenty of sleep at night.
We hope these tips come in handy in making your senior parents' travels as comfortable as possible—they deserve it!
The award-winning BEST WESTERN PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites is known as a launch pad to the surrounding area’s 4 season outdoor playground in British Columbia, Canada. Winter sees world class skiing, and skating, while summer sun brings epic wine tours, golf, biking, and water sports. The Best Western is in the heart of beautiful Kelowna, BC and has 176 rooms and suites; plus conference center, mineral pool, spa and much more.
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