Planning a trip with your aging parent? We have some tips to make the most of it.
Traveling with your aging parent is a wonderful way to connect and build incredible memories. The best way to travel is to be prepared for your time away, so you can focus on having fun. Following these simple tips can help you kick back and relax.
1. Consider the Climate
If health is a current issue, take the climate you’d like to travel to into account. Excessive heat, cold or altitude can put a large amount of strain on a frail body. You might want to opt for a milder climate instead. If the flight is long, ask your parent’s doctor about whether taking an aspirin ahead of time would be useful, since it’s known to prevent blood clots.
2. Opt for Travel Insurance
Spending a few extra dollars on travel insurance can save you a world of headache. Natural disasters, unexpected illnesses, a flat tire … life happens. Opting for travel insurance should make rescheduling your trip much easier — and much less expensive — than going without.
3. Reserve Special Services
If your mom or dad has trouble walking, the airport can arrange for a wheelchair to help make the transition to and from the gate easier. Hotels also offer wheelchair accessible rooms and showers. Just ask when booking.
4. Organize Refills
Make sure you have all meds you’ll need accounted for a week or so before you leave. This allows for extra time if you need to refill anything at the pharmacy or have a doctor call in another prescription. Be sure to pack a couple days worth of extra meds, just in case of an unexpected delay.
5. Gather Papers
If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll want to make sure passports are still well within their expiration dates. The last thing you want is to realize just before packing that the passports are either A) misplaced or B) expired. (Yikes!) Those traveling out of the country should make sure all papers are in order at least three months prior to departure. Domestic flights are simple — just pack a driver’s license or state ID. While you’re at it, print out a travel itinerary and leave everything in one (easy to access) spot.
6. Speak Up
Don’t be shy at security checkpoints — notify TSA and security agents if your aging parent has any medical devices that may trigger an alarm.
7. Allow Extra Time
Make sure you have enough time for any expected delays that arise. Aging parents might not move as quickly as they once did. Not being in a rush helps keep everyone’s mood on the up and up.
8. Dress for Comfort
Airport security often calls for the removal of shoes and belts. On those days, pick footwear that slides on and off easily and mention to your parent that belts may need to be temporarily removed as well. If your parent hasn’t traveled in the last few years, you might want to have a quick conversation about how airport security currently functions.
9. Have a Separation Plan
This is a simple tip can really be a lifesaver. Make a deal with your loved one that if you ever accidentally get separated, no matter where you are, you’ll regroup at the front entrance or another dedicated spot.
10. Choose Convenience
Now is the time to spring for Ubers, meals out or pre-packaged healthy grocery store options. Have a special convenience fund set aside to help make the most of your time together and spend less time trying to figure out the most economical option. Pass the time telling stories from the past and learning about bucket list plans for the future.