|As more mature people live
longer and many are more active than pervious aging generations,
their desire to travel does not diminish. They may still travel on
their own, as many do, or ask a younger family member to travel with
them. Naturally there are sme considerations that ultimately make
the experience beneficial to all parties.
We have had people well into
their 80's make the Trans Siberian railway journey. This writer has
personally travelled (involved a lot of walking) with 70+ year olds
that he had to keep up with!! This same editor is of the generation
that was to, 'never get old'. Todays maturing portion of the
population often has a mind that still has aspirations of a 25 year
old, but the physical side is not quite up to it! This is where
planning and balance come into play!
extremely important for family bonding and mental
recharging—even more so when you care for an aging
parent,” Mission Home Car director Kerry Pawl said.
“However, many people avoid it altogether due to the
stress they think will occur when travelling with frail
seniors—this doesn’t have to be the case.”
In today’s ageing population, it seems like cruising is
the best way to go for seniors - they step in, they sit,
they watch the world pass by and they have a cup of tea.
However, if the idea of spending ten or so days in a
cabin with your parent or letting them go on their own
isn’t what you are looking for, then here are some tips
that will help you plan a land based getaway with an
Doctor Contact Information: Take the elderly person to your
GP or their specialist doctor for approval of travel. Make sure that
you have your doctor’s contact details both somewhere as a hard copy
as well as a digital copy saved online. Don’t rely on finding your
doctor’s contact info on Google just in case it isn’t up to date.
Medication: Ensure that you have enough prescription
medication to last for the entirety of the trip, plus a little bit
more. It is best to carry the ‘important’ drugs in several different
bags so that you always have some on you and so that there is a
backup in case something happens to your luggage or you lose a
Prescription: Have a few copies of the prescription: one in
your hand luggage, one in your checked-in luggage and a digital copy
saved to an email or somewhere else that you can access online. This
is especially important as certain medication ingredients are
illegal in various countries and having a prescription (translated
if you can) could help your case in such an instance.
Caregiver: Hiring a caregiver to travel with you can
definitely be worth it, even if you only pay them for a few hours a
day to stay with the elderly person. Caregivers are trained in
assisting with everything from going to the bathroom to eating a
meal and will probably get less frustrated in certain situations.
Before you Book
Accommodation Access: I once read a review by an elderly
couple who were really excited by a hotel which was described as
being in a Victorian building in England; however when they arrived
they found out that their room was on the fifth floor and the
historic house had no elevators, so they had to leave. Therefore,
although a place may sound nice and charming, make sure that it has
a working elevator or your room will be on the ground floor and that
it has wheelchair access if need be.
Transport Access: There are many train stations in the world
that are simply not equipped for persons with mobility issues so
think twice before catching a train as there might be unavoidable
stairs or long distances between platforms, and account for lots of
taxi’s or hire a car, when planning how you will get around.
Consider an Upgrade: Even if it’s only for your parent,
consider getting them an upgrade to business class when flying: not
only will they be more comfortable but they will also have less
queues to wait in for the bathroom and will be able to get more
attention from the cabin crew. The only downside is that you will
not be able to visit them throughout the journey.
Wheelchair: Request wheelchair assistance with every flight
you take – this will help you both physically as well as make
getting around quicker with the help of the assistant.
Culture: When choosing where to travel to, try to keep the
culture shock to a minimum as that will help relieve the stress and
decrease potential confusion. If you absolutely must see India then
perhaps watch ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ before booking any
trips with an elderly parent.
Food: Consider the type of food that will be served at the
destination that you are travelling to: will there be access to food
that your parents are used to or will it be easier to book a
property with a kitchen?
Weather: The elderly tend to not do well in extreme weather
so a beach resort with a stable 35° temperature may not be ideal,
nor will a winter wonderland where it is easy to slip and fall.
On the Road
Start with Short Trips: Once you arrive at your destination,
take a few short trips to help your parents acclimatise to the place
and take note on how they do: did they need to stop often, were they
interested or not interested in something, did particular transport
options work better than others? Picking up on little things will
help you plan the pace and activities for the rest of your holiday.
Activities: Walking tours or even exploring on your own can
be quite quick in pace and obviously involve a lot of walking. If
your parent is less mobile but still interested in seeing all the
site then hire a private tour in a mini bus from your hotel or if
you speak a language other than English then ensure that your guide
can communicate with your entire group effectively. Hiring a private
tour will allow you to control the pace of your tour and you will be
travelling in an air-conditioned vehicle.
Toilet Breaks: Account for frequent toilet breaks and try to
find a map with public toilets included on it. Alternatively stay
close to shopping centres, especially if the area that you are
travelling in primarily uses squat toilets.
Do you have any tips on travelling with an elderly person?