Most people look forward to vacations all year long. Time away helps restore the spirit, whether it is a fall getaway to enjoy the autumnal scenery or a winter holiday to visit faraway relatives. For family caregivers, however, taking a vacation might feel impossible. Neither leaving your senior loved one at home nor taking them with you seems feasible.
Fortunately, there are options available to support traveling caregivers, whether you choose to take your loved one or go without them.
Planning a Vacation with a Senior
When you are a caregiver, taking a senior along on your vacation begins with careful planning. A few tips to help you get started include:
1. Think about the destination and accommodations.
Instead of traveling to a new destination, consider going to a familiar locale that you’ve enjoyed in the past. That way, you’ll avoid encountering any surprises when you arrive.
It’s also important to think through how and when you’ll travel. While driving or flying straight through the night might give you more time at your vacation spot, that can be exhausting for an older adult with a chronic health condition.
Car travel is sometimes easier than air travel for seniors. You can make stops along the way to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and enjoy a snack.
2. Pack for safety and comfort.
Planning for comfort and safety is another important consideration when you are a traveling caregiver. A few suggestions to make your trip go more smoothly are:
- If you are traveling by plane, keep a bag of essentials with you. Include the older adult’s medications and other medical supplies they routinely need.
- While no one likes to think the worst will happen, it’s best to plan for emergencies. Pack copies of your family member’s medication schedule, medical history, and physician contact information. Also bring copies of their insurance information and important legal documents, such as a power of attorney or living will.
- Bring items to help make your loved one more comfortable as you travel. A pillow or neck booster, noise-canceling headphones, and snacks are a few examples.
Encourage the senior to wear comfortable clothing and footwear, too, while you are en route to your destination.
3. Talk with the hotel manager and airline staff ahead of time.
If your older family member requires special accommodations, call the hotel staff ahead of time. Providing advance notice helps ensure the senior’s needs can be met.
The hotel may also have a relationship with a home care agency that can provide you with a caregiver during your visit. A respite caregiver, for example, can stay with your senior loved one at the hotel while the rest of your family goes on an outing.
For air travel, request a wheelchair for your loved one in advance. This information on wheelchair and guided assistance from the Department of Transportation offers tips on how to do so.
Support from a Professional Caregiver
If you decide your family member will be safer and more comfortable staying at home, hiring an in-home caregiver can be an ideal solution. Depending on the senior’s needs, you can arrange for support a few hours a day or around the clock.
Professional caregivers can assist with tasks such as grocery shopping, bathing, grooming, meal preparation, and more. Contact the Griswold Home Care location nearest you to learn more.