Seniors are traveling now more than ever, thanks in large part to advances in medical technologies that enable people to live healthier, longer lives.
But aging adults should take a few things into consideration when planning a trip to ensure safety and comfort. Here are some essential travel tips for the senior in your life.
Before the Trip
Before heading out on holiday, seniors should pay a visit to their doctor for a check-up and to ensure all medications are current and prescriptions are on file. If there’s a pre-existing condition, the physician should write up a medical history and instructions for treatment in the event a hospital visit is necessary. Here are some other tips for pre-trip planning.
• Check the weather at the destination, and make sure your loved one packs accordingly.
• Pack enough prescription medication to last the entire trip, plus a few extras in case there are delays. Keep a list of the medications and doses your loved one takes just in case the prescriptions get lost.
• Consider purchasing insurance to ensure your loved one is covered in the event of an accident or injury during his travels.
• Pack essentials like medication and extra glasses in the carry-on to ensure it won’t get lost.
• Have your senior leave valuables and cash at home.
• If your loved one is traveling alone, make sure you have the full itinerary and any relevant phone numbers at the destination.
• Make several copies of your loved one’s passport, official ID, insurance cards, tickets, and itinerary. Keep one copy safe at home, put another copy in your loved one’s suitcase, and send a copy to family members at the destination, if relevant.
• Have your loved one consider a money belt that’s worn around the waist instead of a purse or back-pocket wallet, which are easy marks for thieves.
Air Travel Tips
Traveling by air gets you to your destination faster, but there are a few precautions seniors should take when flying.
• Arrange ahead of time for a wheelchair, special meals, and other assistance.
• Request appropriate seating on the plane.
• To reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis, have your loved one drink plenty of water and move around the cabin every hour. Ask her doctor about taking a pre-flight dose of aspirin, and if it’s a long flight, have her consider compression socks.
Road Trip Tips
If you’re hitting the road with your loved one, here are some tips to ensure the best possible road trip.
• Plan ahead, but be flexible. Stop and smell the roses.
• Be ready to stop frequently to let your parent use the facilities and stretch his legs.
• Bring along a couple of pillows to ensure your loved one’s comfort.
• If the sun is beating in through the windows, have sunscreen on hand.
• Pack healthy snacks and plenty of bottled water to keep your loved one hydrated.
• Consider bringing along books on tape or a few musical playlists that your loved one will enjoy to make the time go faster and prevent boredom.
No matter the destination or the mode of travel, planning ahead will help ensure your loved one stays safe and healthy and enjoys the trip.