Travel Tips for Older Adults with Special Needs

If your aging loved one struggles with mobility or certain health issues that make traveling difficult, taking a trip can seem like an insurmountable task. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning ahead, you and your loved one can enjoy a wonderful, trouble-free vacay and make some great memories to cherish. These special tips can help.

Plan Well Ahead
Whether you’re flying, chugging down the tracks or taking a road trip, planning the trip well ahead of time will ensure the highest level of comfort and safety. For example, if your aging loved one will need wheelchair assistance at the airport, train station, or hotel or has special dietary considerations, planning ahead will make travel day as stress-free as possible as well as give the “powers that be” time to have everything in place for a smooth trip.

Make Copies of Essential Documents
Losing an essential prescription or misplacing the travel itinerary can have devastating consequences. Before you head out, make several copies of essential documents, including Medicare and insurance cards, prescriptions and physician’s statements, itinerary, travel tickets, driver’s license, state ID, or passport. Keep one set of documents in the luggage, one set in your loved one’s carryon bag, and one copy on the kitchen counter at home. If your loved one is traveling alone to visit other family members, send a copy to a responsible party at the final destination.

Pack Light
Keep the suitcases small and light to make it easier to navigate the airport or train station. Be sure to check the current regulations for what you can carry on, and make sure you’ve followed them closely to avoid problems at the gate. Pack all of your loved one’s medications in their original prescription bottles and place them in a large zip-lock bag along with copies of the prescriptions, and keep these in a carry-on bag.

Keep Little Convenience Items on Hand
Keep a little care pack handy during your travels for those little emergencies that can add up to a not-so-good time. Have some pre-wrapped snacks handy, such as crackers and cheese or trail mix, to keep hunger and low blood sugar at bay. Be sure to bring chewing gum on a flight to prevent painful plugged-up ears, and keep a little bottle of lotion, some ibuprofen, lip balm, eye drops and other little necessities accessible to ensure your loved one is as comfortable as possible.
Traveling with an aging loved one doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you’re prepared. So take care of all the little details ahead of time so you can sit back, enjoy the ride, and have a great trip!