Caring for an Elderly Loved One While on Vacation

When one plans a family vacation, what happens to one’s elderly parents comes into question. A family vacation should be just that—a full family vacation—but caring for an elderly loved one while on vacation can be a daunting task. However, leaving them at home might leave you wishing they were with you. It’s easy to feel guilty about both alternatives.

With additional, careful planning, your family, your elderly parent, and you can have fun on vacation while fulfilling your caregiving duties. Together, you’ll create memories that you’ll cherish for years to come. While planning your next family vacation, keep these tips in mind.

Consider total travel time

In many cases, half of the battle in traveling with a senior is the actual act of traveling from home to your vacation destination. Sitting in the car or on a plane for great lengths of time might be uncomfortable for your elderly loved one for any number of reasons, and it can make keeping track of medication difficult.

Before setting any plans, keep travel time in mind. Leave a longer trip for another time and choose a closer/more easily accessible destination this time. Don’t forget to consider the total time spent in an airport if you choose to book a flight.

Choose the vacation destination wisely

Similar to the above suggestion, take into consideration your loved one’s needs when choosing a vacation location. Is the location easily drivable? Or is it a city that requires more walking? Will extreme temperatures be an issue? Think about any accommodations your loved one might need, as well as what will be easiest for you and your family. Make sure you pack accordingly.

Call ahead to confirm handicap accessibility if necessary

If your family member has mobility issues, make sure wherever you will be saying can accommodate their needs. Call ahead to make sure your elderly loved one will be able to stay at this venue comfortably. This could mean there is elevator access at your choice hotel, or even a first-floor bedroom when staying in a rental property.

Make sure they have enough medication to last the trip

Things like an additional sweatshirt or sunscreen can easily be purchased no matter where you go for vacation. Medication is not so simple to replace. In the weeks leading up to the vacation, make sure your elderly loved one has enough medication to last them through the trip. It’ll give both you, and your loved one, peace of mind.

Don’t forget to set medication reminders and keep your loved one’s medication on hand. When out and about having fun, it’s easy to lose track of time. These reminders will be crucial to ensuring your family member keeps up with their medication.

Plan a light schedule

While some might prefer a more spontaneous vacation, having an itinerary will make everyone’s life easier. By planning ahead of time, you can ensure these events are senior-friendly with proper accessibility. It also helps you avoid missing an event because it’s sold out.

All this being said, don’t completely pack the schedule. Too much can exhaust seniors. This doesn’t mean your vacation has to be spent indoors, of course. Just keep in mind your loved one will have more energy earlier in the day and consider scheduling periods of rest to not overexert them.

Ask about TSA Assistance for Seniors

TSA offers some support services for their elderly and disabled passengers. This helps get everyone through the airport more efficiently, and more safely. In many states, these passengers also have a slightly different screening process. Call a few days ahead of time to learn more about these assistance services.

Enlist the help of others

While on vacation, there is a key thing to remember: you are on vacation! Let some of your family members take over the elder care activities every now and again and take some time for yourself. This will ensure that everyone can relax on the vacation every now and again.

Taking a vacation without your elderly loved one

Whether it’s a weekend getaway with your partner or a vacation with friends, there will be times when your elderly parent can’t come on vacation with you. Whatever the trip entails, an in-home care aid can take over caring for your loved one while you’re gone.

In-home care workers can help your elderly loved one with:

  • Personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and other needs
  • Running errands, such as getting groceries sending mail, or picking up a prescription
  • Medication reminders, to ensure your loved one is taking the right medication at the right time
  • And much more

Call us at 773-274-9262to learn more about the home care services we offer.

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