We all (Almost everyone 😉 ) likes to travel. Same goes for our parents but they hesitate because they feel it is too difficult for them to travel in old age and they will burden us during holidays. I had traveled with my elderly parents few times for holidays and came across few things/challenges. From my experience, I would like to share few thoughts on this subject. Elderly parents are like small kids with special requirements, so patience is the key. If we keep some of the things mentioned here then we all can enjoy the vacations. Here are some of the tips for traveling with elderly.
* Consult and visit the doctor few days few you start the trip with them. Incase, if any medicine change required then it can be done while you are still at home. Ask the doctor for some basic medications and keep a first aid box handy.
* It is better to keep essential medicines in hand bag. Pack some extra medicine like tablets or inhalers in luggage. If you are traveling to hot and dry places or they have breathing issue then keep “steamer” in your luggage. Carry electric hot water bottles if you are travelling to colder areas.
* Give yourself some extra time.i.e. reach airport atleast 2 hours before departure so that you have plenty of time to check in and security check or incase you need wheel chair assistance. Stay together for these formalities and keep a good conversation with them to makes the experience more carefree if they are not frequent travelers. Eat or drink some tea coffee after security check. Also it’s better if they use the restroom at airport instead of aircraft’s cramped toilets.
* Carry sanitizing wipes handy and use these frequently because hundred & thousands of people use same railing or armrests in public places. Whenever possible wash hands properly to avoid unwanted germs as elderly people are more prone to infections.
* Hydrate well with packaged drinking water or any natural soft drinks. Limit alcohol consumption, if they like to drink (I don’t have this problem as my guys are teetotaler 🙂 )
* Hotel details : Before booking a hotel, check it’s details .i.e. The access for rooms, elevator and other common areas. If one of your parent is on wheelchair then check for wheelchair access because in India many 3 star hotels or holiday resort are not wheelchair friendly. If you need something specific for your room then ask and get the confirmation from hotel in advance. Avoid hotels, where they have to climb stairs because it is also tiring for them.
* Carry the toiletries they use at home instead of using the one hotel provide.
* Pack cloths with extra care considering climate. (We all do for our self but take extra care for them)
* When you check in to hotel, don’t rush for sight seeing. Give them sometime to relax and rest, to get familiar with the property.
* When planning how you will spend your time, please make allowances. Take into account that they may get tired before you do and many times they don’t want to do as much walking as they may suffer pain from symptoms of arthritis.
* Incase if you want to go for some sight seeing or activity which require physical activity and not suitable for them then do arrange some different activity or leisure time for them. Where they can have good time.
* Stay on schedule with medications and keep monitoring as well ask them regularly because due to change of routine they may forget.
* As a precaution, please don’t let your parents carry too much cash and get them waist bag or sling bags which have inner zip pockets to keep cards inside.
* Make sure that you always have a good hot meal for lunch or dinner. Don’t go for too much street food on the go, check the place for hygiene. Don’t push parents to try anything too unusual or any typical local food that makes them feel uncomfortable. Prefer to eat at places, where you see food is fresh. (One way to judge is the number of people, if the place is full that means more chances of having fresh food)
* Do keep an eye on them for signs of anxiety and weariness. They may not tell you to spoil your program. If anyone of them look stressed, simply take them away and ask them to sit & relax in restaurant / hotel or resort.* As them to do some stationary exercise in room or walking around if you are staying in resort.
* Make sure that they rest and get plenty of sleep. They prefer to have afternoon siesta, so make program accordingly.i.e. do sight seeing or activities between breakfast and lunch and then after afternoon siesta.
These are tips for traveling with elderly are based on my experience, please add more if I missed some other points one should take care.