Vacations with an Elderly Parent
Travelling with an elderly parent can come with some real challenges, but it can also be very rewarding. Vacations are a great way of bonding closer together and providing your loved ones with amazing memories. By including your parent or parents in your vacation plans, you get to give them a real sense of belonging, and for the elderly, isolation and loneliness can be very real worries. While there are plenty of reasons why bringing your parents on vacation is a good idea, there are some potential barriers to tackle.
However, with the right awareness of their needs and the resources available to you, your family vacation might be easier to pull off than you might think.
Talk to their Physician
No matter where you’re planning to take your parent on vacation, you should always start your prep by talking to their doctor. They will be able to highlight any specific considerations that you will need to take into account. They will know what your parent needs, and can advise you on:
- Climate differences that may be a factor
- Any immunisations that may be necessary
- Making sure that you have prescriptions and medication for the duration of your vacation
- Any specific medical equipment that they might need
This is all good preparation that can make the rest of your planning much easier, so always make sure that your first port of call is your parent’s doctor.
Depending on how far you are travelling, you will need certain documents. Make sure that these are in order before time passes or you may be unable to get them before your vacation departure date. As well as the originals, make sure that you have a few photocopies of:
- The tickets for your journey
- A well-planned itinerary
- Medical documentation
If your parent has an affliction like dementia, then you should also consider some form of ID that can be worn. It’s also a good idea to have a printed photo of your parent, just in case you become separated.
The airport and flight are going to be big obstacles to tackle. Start by making sure that your travel plans aren’t going to interrupt the needs of your elderly parent. Most airports will provide wheelchair transport through terminals and security, but this will need to be organised before you arrive. It’s a good idea to arrange advanced boarding as well so that you can have early access to the plane. You should also consider using healthcare flight coordinators who can arrange your travel plans and even fly with you to ensure that your parent gets the healthcare treatment they need during the flight. Look for non-emergency medical transport companies like Flying Angels who can make your entire journey much easier to plan and undertake.
Never overdo your itinerary. You might be able to walk for hours and see all of the sights, but there’s a good chance that your elderly parent will need regular breaks. Always remember to make additional time allowances, especially first thing in the morning and late at night.
With the right planning and research, a vacation with an elderly parent can be much smoother. The benefits are well worth the extra arrangements, and the memories alone will be something that you can think back on for the rest of your life. Don’t dismiss the idea of a parent-friendly vacation without looking at the resources available that could make it the adventure of a lifetime.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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