Travel Advice: Taking a Trip with an Elderly Loved One

Traveling with an elderly loved one can be tough, especially if they have a health condition. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep stress at bay and make the trip enjoyable for everyone. Here are a few travel tips to keep in mind for your next train station or airport adventure.

  • Talk to the Doctor

    It's important to make sure your loved one is able to travel before you book tickets. Set up an appointment with your aging parent's primary care physician and ask them to do a general health assessment to clear your loved one for travel. At the appointment, you can request advanced refills for any medication you'll need while you're away. The doctor can also give you personalized counsel on what activities are safe to engage in and how to find finding suitable medical care at your destination if needed.
  • Take Your Time

    Making your way through airports and train depots is stressful, even when it's just you. When you're traveling with a loved one, make sure you allow plenty of time to get tickets, sort luggage, get through security, make it to your gate, and get food if needed. Most seniors don’t mind having extra time to sit and relax, but they find it difficult to rush around a busy airport or train station. Showing up extra early can also prevent stressful situations, like rushing to catch a flight.
  • Get Priority Boarding

Cramped planes are difficult for anyone to navigate. That's why flying with a loved one who has mobility issues can be especially challenging. Visit the gate to see if you can get a priority mark on your boarding pass. This will allow you to board early and will give you extra time to get situated.

  • Pack Practically

    No one wants to get stuck in an airport overnight, but it can happen. Pack a carry on with all your critical items and be sure to include anything you wouldn't be able to go without for 24 hours. This includes things like your identification, tickets, prescription medications, and insurance cards. It's also a good idea to bring hygiene essentials.

In addition to essentials, have a couple of changes of clothes for your senior loved one handy. These clothes should be comfortable and easy to put on, so you don't find yourself in an awkward situation in a small train or plane bathroom. It’s also a good idea to have a few of your loved one’s favorite snacks and books in your carry-on luggage in case there are unexpected delays.

  • Plan for Emergencies

    Make sure your loved one has a phone to contact you if need be. If they have a medical issue, it's also a good idea to have them wear a medic alert bracelet. If they have a cognitive disorder, make sure they're wearing an identification bracelet. Also be sure to give your loved one a copy of any important medical documents in case an emergency happens when you're separated.

Traveling with a senior loved one can be a memorable and enjoyable experience for all involved, even if there are unforeseen delays and hassles. Follow the tips outlined above to avoid common problems and ensure your time together is fun, safe, and stress-free.

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