Summer and Seniors: Perfect Together!
Summer is in full swing and, for seniors, the urge to explore and travel during warmer weather does not disappear with age. Logistically however, traveling with a senior can sometimes seem a little daunting. Whether you are planning a short trip or a lengthy vacation, with the right knowledge and preparation you can ensure a safe, enjoyable and rewarding travel experience for all.
Here are some tips to prime you for success!
- Make sure your accommodations are centrally located to your plans and easy to reach. Most hotels offer special arrangements for senior travelers, so don’t be afraid to call and ask.
- Ensure all your means of transportation are senior and disability friendly. Ask for disabled traveler rows on airplanes, buses, or trains; airports can provide elder/disabled assistance to reaching terminals and boarding gates.
- When packing for your elder loved one, be sure to remember the necessary medications and medical supplies and pack for longer than your anticipated stay for backup. Don’t forget your prescription glasses, sunglasses and extra batteries for hearing aids.
- Be sure to include layered clothing, comfortable shoes and a hat. As necessary, pack incontinence supplies, wipes and barrier creams.
- Older bodies have more difficulty regulating and adapting to temperature changes, especially in the dog days of summer. Have your older loved one stay cool and protected from the sun by wearing a 50+ SPF sunscreen, staying in the shade when possible, and wearing light colored clothing which absorbs less heat. Do tours early or later in the day to avoid the most intense heat periods.
- Be familiar with signs of dehydration and heat stroke which can include confusion, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and weakness. If not improving with hydration and rest, seek medical attention as needed.
- If you are traveling to a foreign country with a senior loved one, be sure you’re up to date on specific vaccinations for that country and pack a supply of travel medications such as anti-nausea, anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory medications. Have a copy of important health documents with you, such as a health care proxy and travel medical insurance.
On a closing note, to create deep and meaningful bonds, incorporating intergenerational gatherings and seeking out nostalgic venues that evoke pleasant memories is the secret sauce for a magical trip.