Summer Travel Tips for Seniors and Families
Summer has arrived. Spring cleaning is over, and kids are on vacation. Some families are either preparing to take trips out of the area, or relatives are coming to Orlando for an extended summer vacation. Some of these summer plans include making preparations and arrangements to include mom, dad, grandchildren, grandparents, and, yes, even the pooch.
What can we do to prepare for when grandparents or older relatives come for a visit, or join the family on a summer trip? The keys to a great summer vacation are preparation and planning. The following tips will make everyone’s summer vacation an easier and worthwhile experience.
- Encourage older family member to become an active travel participant. Include them in your travel plans, whenever possible.
- Make sure your loved ones can travel the required distance.
- Consider medical conditions and pace the trip accordingly, even before setting off on summer journey.
- Check with a doctor about travel plans.
- Don’t forget to bring along an updated photo ID, and copies of advance directives.
- Prescription medications must be kept inside appropriately labeled containers.
- Older adults and seniors should bring a current list of medications. Don’t forget to include any allergies.
- Pack comfortable yet sturdy travel shoes, with ankle and heel support; make sure soles are non-slip. Bring extra undergarments, summer clothing, summer hat and sunglasses.
- If you are traveling by car, give yourself extra time to incorporate extra bathroom stops, and leg stretches for all passengers. Be sensitive to a senior’s needs. You may want to include a refrigerated travel container that can be plugged into a 12.5 volt plug-in found in most vehicles. Bring along a power adapter and battery saver so you do not end up draining your car battery.
- When making hotel reservations for a loved one who is handicap, don’t forget to reserve a room with handicap accessibility. Counters and sinks are much lower in handicap- accessed rooms than in regular rooms. In fact, these rooms are more suitable for wheelchair bound visitors. Some hotels, such as The Rosen Centre, in Orlando, Florida, have bathroom showers with wheelchair roll-in access. Call the hotel of your choice for availability.
Tips for the host and hostess
- If a senior or older adult family member is coming to Orlando for a short or extended family visit and needs to rent a wheelchair or scooter, you can contact Colonial Medical Supplies, K & M Rentals, and Florida Mobility Rentals. Call in advance during the holiday season.
- Make necessary accommodations, so older family members stay on a daily routine; this is even more important if family member has dementia.
- Make certain that senior’s medications are taken in a timely manner. Keep a list of the medications along with times to be taken. This medication list could be placed in an area where you and your loved can see and check.
- Encourage fluid and water intake. Some conditions require that a doctor limit the amount of fluid. Verify with the doctor how much loved one should drink while the weather is hot.
- Remove throw rugs and other obstacles to avoid slip and falls.
- Prepare brain healthy activities so all family guests can enjoy.
- Encourage socialization and conversation between all age groups.
- Create a summer scrapbook with pictures, art, notes, and lists of favorite foods and recipes. Encourage younger folks to write entries and create artwork they can share in the older senior’s scrapbook. This activity helps bond family members. Likewise, younger family members can create their own summer collection, too.
Tips for seniors and older adults traveling outside the United States
1. When making travel plans identify all the required entry and exit documents to the country you are visiting, along with documents you need to exit and enter back into the United States.
2. Before going abroad, make sure you check in with your physician to inquire about health concerns, needed vaccinations and prescription refills. Don’t be surprised if your own physician issues cautions. While preparing for an overseas trip, I found out from my doctor that I could no longer climb mountains due to a heart condition. My condition was not detected until my mid-fifties. I am glad I checked.
3. Keep plane tickets, valid picture IDs, updated passports (passport books and/or passport cards), and visas readily available in a place you can see at all times.
4. Do not forget to identify locations of the nearest US Embassy or consulate offices. You may need to know this in case of an emergency. Carefully follow all travel advisories and restrictions. Do not subject yourself and others to unnecessary anguish, concern, and heartache.
5. When traveling outside the US, check travel notices and tips from The Bureau of Consular Affairs.
6. Inform family members how they can get in touch with you in case of an emergency while you are away.
7. Pack smart and pack light.
8. Follow air travel requirements regarding containers, luggage, and carry-on sizes.
9. Always wash your hands and use infection control measures.
We hope these tips provide some helpful information and make planning easier. Have fun and enjoy a healthy summer vacation with family and friends!
Senior Helpers of Orlando recognizes the need for family reunions, travel, and healthy activities. We also know of the importance of safety and preparation when traveling with seniors in Florida or anywhere else. If you are visiting Orlando and need home health care for a senior loved one, do not hesitate to call Senior Helpers of Orlando at 407-628-4357.
Ana P. DeLane
Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member
Senior Helpers Orlando, whose owners started the company after less-than-satisfactory experiences with in-home care services for their parents, has provided outstanding service to hundreds of families in the area. Specializing in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, Senior Helpers offers this blog to help families gain a better understanding of the health care needs of their senior loved ones and how to best care for them. For more information on how Senior Helpers Orlando can assist your family, please call us at (407) 628-4357 or visit www.seniorhelpers.com/orlando.