Travel can be one of the best gifts you can give a senior loved one. Whether it’s a trip to visit family such as grand-kids or great grand-kids, or an adventure to an exotic locale, or a jaunt on a cruise ship, a trip is always a treasured experience. Even if it’s just a return home, that trip will always be remembered. You might need to accompany your parent if they are not able to make the trip alone. If so, here are 10 tips for making sure your senior is traveling safely.
Find Senior Friendly Services
Whether you’re traveling with your senior or they are traveling solo, it is important to plan, reserve, and confirm what must be accomplished as soon as possible. The destination needs to be pinned down, with target dates set and airlines, buses, and cruise lines all lined up. For air and land transportation, it is important to seek the most direct and shortest travel times so as to reduce the strain on your senior.
You can also enroll your senior in the no-cost frequent flier programs for each airline. This will give you access to the lowest possible fairs and benefits at the airport and on board the airplane. You will also be able to request additional special services. Although most do not have them anymore, there may be senior discount fares for providers such as Southwest and Amtrak.
Request Elder Accommodations
You can request seat assignments and elderly accommodations if your senior has difficulty with ADL’s. You can also request cost-free wheelchair services at every airport, along with a reservation system to make accommodations for dietary needs. If they are traveling alone, ensure that your parent will have assistance from the counter to the security to the gate and on board the airplane.
Make sure to do it ahead of time, because if you don't make and confirm all of these requests at the time of reservation, the airline, train or bus line has no obligation to make these available at no cost.
A government passport will generally be accepted by federal TSA security officers. If you or your senior loved one do not have a passport, you will likely need to get one before traveling anywhere by plane. You’ll have to apply well ahead of time. Your local post office should have the application forms or you can go online to access the information and application forms. You can get photographs at AAA offices and at large department and drug stores.
Make sure to request copies of the prescriptions and other statements of medical conditions from physicians and medical centers. Make sure to create copies of passports, driver’s license, medicare, insurance cards, travel tickets, itineraries, boarding passes, and any prescription medication needed.
If your senior is traveling with limitations, you’ll want to be sure they are not overburdened with lugging item’s around. Try getting a roll-aboard suitcase and a medium size carry on. Luckily, you will not have to check in with these, as they can fit securely into the overhead racks. This will also help your senior save time at the airport. All prescriptions and such can be placed in a zip lock bag. You can also slip in a heartfelt note for your loved one.
Safety, Security, and Comfort
Travel Centers are ripe pickings for thieves. After all, plenty of unsuspecting travelers are walking around with all of their valuables on them, usually in a state of confusion or in a hurry where they are not paying attention. Make sure not to leave any opportunities for thieves to get a hand at your senior. Some ideas to prevent theft include using a money belt instead of a purse, wallets tucked into inner coats, or neck cords containing valuable documents and credit cards.
Most seniors take 5 or more medications per day. If your senior has memory problems and needs to take medications during their trip, you’ll want to work out some kind of process for getting them the medication they need. You can ask travel staff in advance about accommodations to help ensure that your senior is taking their medication. You can also provide your parent with some kind of alarm system to ensure they take it on their own, but it might be safer to enlist outside help in case your senior falls asleep or loses their alarm.
If your senior is in a wheelchair, this may benefit them regarding security checkpoints. With wheelchair access, your senior should be able to quickly get through security at the airport. Make sure that they are prepared to get through and able to acknowledge any surgical hip or knee replacements that could set off metal detectors. Oftentimes, personnel will ask your senior to go through a wand screening.
Consider Their Travel Bucket List
There is a big world out there. Oftentimes, the elderly will have bucket list items that they never got around to fulfilling during their younger years. Ask your senior about their travel wishes and do your best to help them fulfill their bucket list items. You may even get to share in the adventure and knock some bucket list items off your own list.
Senior Catered Cruises and Tours
If something more active is out of the question, you can always browse tour and cruise options. Tours and cruises offer a unique service in that they are completely planned out and formulaic, but they are also safer and offer less ambiguity. Many will also ensure that activities are wheelchair accessible.
Travel with Them
It seems unconventional, but it may be one of the best experiences of your life. You never know how much time you have remaining with your loved ones, so it is never a bad idea to spend quality time with them before they are gone.
Are you looking into a senior living facility for your family member that will support their senior health? Landmark Senior Living is available today to take you and your loved one for a tour at one of our seven premier and affordable communities. Call now for more information!