Remember those fun holidays you took with your parents when you were young? The excitement of packing with mom constantly nagging in the background about too much luggage, her making sure you had all the items on the checklist, dad moving around the house ensuring that all the doors and windows were locked, while giving you instructions on how to behave during the flight at the same time.
Well, expect the same scenario when you are travelling with them as an adult, only the role is reversed. Obviously, they will still give you instructions on how to behave even today, but all the other aspects of planning- the travel itinerary, booking flight/train tickets/ hotel rooms, packing, locking the house etc., are your responsibility.
But you have to make sure that you do all of the above without patronizing them. Here is the ultimate check-list to make your job easy when travelling with an elderly
The first and foremost item on your travel checklist has to be patience and plenty of it too. The trick is to make them feel that they are still in charge. Ask them about their preferences while travelling, make sure that you are helping them without offending them. For instance, give them a hand while they are packing without making them feel dependent. Keep your cool and explain to them the nitty-gritties of the trip before you leave, so they know what to expect. In case they are slow, or have a hearing problem, it is you who will have to adjust as they definitely can’t. Patience will go a long way in making the trip a success!
- Travel insurance along with medical coverage
Depending upon the health of the elderly that you are travelling with, make sure they have travel insurance along with medical coverage. Before leaving for the trip, acquire details of your insurance and make sure that it applies in your case. Travel insurance is of great help in case of any unexpected emergencies along the way.
- Pre-trip medical check-up
Before you leave for your holiday, ensure that the elderly person travelling with you gets a medical check-up done. This is quite essential, especially if the person suffers from a heart problem, hypertension or a chronic issue. If you are travelling by flight, discuss with the doctor if air travel is safe. Get a positive confirmation and only then book the flight tickets. A general check-up does help avoid any complication during the period of travel.
- Medicines and prescriptions
As per the number of days you are travelling, ensure that you carry all the relevant medicines with you. In case, the elderly family member travelling with you is on too many medicines, you can acquire a letter from their doctor explaining the reason for the prescription. If you are travelling to another country, it is always a good idea to have the names of the medicines translated into the country’s language. For instance, if you run out of medicines in Mexico or China, explaining the name of the medicines you need in Spanish or Chinese might become a frustrating experience.
- Essential documents
Depending upon where exactly you are travelling make sure that your elderly family member has all his essential documents on him. This includes:
- Necessary identification
- Copies of the passport and identification
- Medical prescription which should also include the doctor’s information like name and contact
- Allergy list
- Travel and medical insurance records and details
- Emergency contact details
- Carry-on luggage essentials
If your time on the flight or train is going to be long, ensure that the carry-on bag has all the essentials that your elderly relative may need during this period of time. This includes-
- Daily dose of medicines along with some painkillers and antacids
- Another pair of glasses
- A book for pastime
- Hand sanitizer
- Spare batteries, if he wears a hearing aid
- Spare cash and card
- Tissues and wet wipes
- A light snack
Their time during the flight or train ride has to be comfortable, thus you can also add in-
- A thin cushion for added back support
- A small pillow because sleep is essential
- A light sweater or blanket, in case the air-condition gets too chilly.
- Arrangement of special services
Making prior arrangements for special services like a:
- Wheel chair
- Early boarding arrangements
- Special seating; definitely goes a long way in making the whole travelling experience a comfortable one for your elderly companion. Even if one is perfectly capable of walking, patiently explain that moving around an airport can be quite taxing and convince to use a wheelchair.
- Discuss ways of easy contact
Advanced technology and cell-phones have made it very easy to keep in contact with each other. When travelling with elderly, ensure that you have arranged for a prepaid phone or even a calling card for them, so that communication is convenient at any given time. If your elderly companion is forgetful or cognitively impaired, save your number on the phone and give them clear and simple instructions on how to use it. Efficient ways of communication really help during emergencies.
- Check-in luggage essentials
If you are travelling by flight, make sure that the check-in luggage of your elderly companion has all the essentials that he will need during the holiday, especially articles which are not allowed in carry-on baggage. The check-in luggage should have-
- Certain toiletry essentials such as cleansers, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant moisturizers, etc.
- Outdoor clothes depending upon the weather and period of stay
- Comfortable shoes
- Accessories such as belts, watches etc.
- A light sweater or wind breaker
- Take care of hotel booking and other reservations
If you are taking a vacation, make sure that all your hotel reservations and transport bookings are in order. This is because after a long flight or train ride, your elderly companion will get quite tired and cranky. If your reservations are in order, you can quickly check-in and ensure that they freshen up and get some much needed rest, before you start sightseeing or exploring. Tours and travel companies are of great help in arranging the itinerary and making the necessary arrangements for a vacation.
With just a bit of advanced planning and careful packing, travelling with elderly companions can be quite an exhilarating and fun experience. Before you come to think of it the trip will have come to an end, leaving you with great memories and a pleasurable experience.
Taking care of an elderly at home becomes easy and convenient with Portea’s eldercare plans. With us, give your loved ones the care they always deserve.