Travel with older adults can be a safe & pleasurable experience if you plan ahead to avoid the typical headaches that can spoil a trip. Many seniors are expert travelers with thousands of miles under their shoes. Below are some things to consider when planning your trip.
1. Talk to the Doctor
a. Make a list of all prescriptions & over-the-counter medications. Having a list of meds & medical problems will make it easier to get through customs if flying or get replacement meds if lost.
b. Be sure to include both trade and generic names of the drugs as well as dosage and frequency.
2. Request & Reserve Special Services
a. Travelers with disabilities may request designated seats.
b. When flying you can request free wheelchair service between departing, connecting & arriving locations within the airport terminal. This will make it easier to make a connecting flight with a short layover and long distance between gates.
c. No matter how you are traveling, be sure to check ahead for meal alternatives if your senior traveler has dietary restrictions.
d. Be sure to make & confirm all special arrangements when you book your reservations. Travel companies have no obligation to meet your needs if they were not told about them up front.
3. Dealing with Medication
a. Keeping medication in the original containers will make it easier to take them through customs.
b. Put medications in the senior traveler’s carry on
c. Pack extra medication in case something happens on the trip and you are delayed in returning
4. Understand that Seniors may be more Sensitive to New Environments
a. Taking an exotic trip while young and healthy is less risky than when you are older and may not have a strong immune system. Older adults are more susceptible to diseases and take longer to recover.
b. It is wise to explore vaccine recommendations when travelling out of the country.
5. Allow Extra Time
a. Airlines often recommend getting to the airport two hours before a flight. However, if your senior traveler needs special accommodations or needs to move at a leisurely pace, you might want to get there even earlier.
b. If scheduled for a tour or other event with a definite start time, getting there early will make for a more relaxing experience and a chance at the best options for your situation.
6. Dress Comfortably & Move Around
a. Travel can be exhausting even when wearing comfy shoes & clothes. But it can be torture wearing clothes that are too tight and don’t breathe. Consider both the fit & fabric; dress in layers that are easy to manage.
b. Take advantage of every opportunity to get up & stretch. A brief walk is great for the circulation. Frequent pit stops help to keep travel stress at bay.
7. Don’t Over-Schedule
a. Plan rest breaks throughout the day. Don’t expect your senior traveler to run from activity to activity without wearing out.
b. Plan activities that aren’t too demanding, or search for an accommodation that might allow your senior to participate with less intensity.
With a little advance planning, travel adventures with your senior can be fun & rewarding for all.