Summer Vacation With the Elderly Requires Additional Planning, Consideration

The CareGiver Partnership® offers tips and tools for caregivers traveling with an elderly or disabled love one, as well as peace of mind for those seeking respite care.

The summer travel season is fast approaching, and with it, all across America, families planning on traveling with elderly persons are asking some common questions. Where to go? How to get there? What to do? The CareGiver Partnership®, a national retailer of home health products, offers resources to help summer travelers address caregiving needs - for their families and themselves - before hitting the road.

“Caregiving and family travel both can be highly rewarding experiences, but they have the potential to be stressful as well,” says Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership. “Whether you’re planning to vacation with a loved one who needs special care due to issues such as a disability, heart condition, stroke or someone who needs assistance, or you are looking for peace of mind while you travel and a loved one stays home - the key words for success are plan, plan, and plan.”

When planning a trip that includes an elderly member of the family who may need assistance, obtaining medical clearances from a physician ensures the proposed trip is realistic and appropriate for all family members. Physicians are also able to help older travelers obtain any extra medication that might be needed; provide a list of all medications and supplements; access copies of medical records; and provide contact information in case of emergency.

Another important consideration for traveling with an elderly, ill or disabled family member is the mode of transportation. Most airlines offer priority boarding for special needs passengers, as well as on-board wheelchair availability and priority check-in for wheelchairs and mobility devices. Amtrak provides information on reservations for accessible space, wheelchair usage and oxygen equipment. When driving, consider the possibility of a rental vehicle that might provide more space and accessible features than an owned vehicle.

“No matter the mode of transportation, there are many products available to make travel more comfortable,” says Wilson. “Support stockings, for example, are a simple and inexpensive option to help prevent the leg pain or numbness, common when an elderly person sits for an extended period.”

Once determinations are made about how to travel, a next step might be considering how your vacation will be spent. Planning a slower pace can reduce overall stress for the whole family. Rather than scheduling a full day of activities, it can be helpful to designate certain periods for rest. In addition, many hotels and resorts offer a wide range of on-site activities so people of all ages and abilities can have a great time together — and separately — at one convenient location.

When a caregiver needs a vacation, and an elderly or disabled family member stays home, respite care is one reliable option to consider. Many retirement homes offer temporary respite care or can help arrange daily home care visits to aid in washing, dressing and meal preparation. Enlisting other family members to help, when that is a possibility, provides the benefit of familiarity for both the caregiver and the care receiver.

As family caregivers consider travel plans, Wilson offers the following tips to get started:
  • Consider whether you need and whether your budget allows for professional assistance, from a specialized travel agent, an aide who can travel with your family or a skilled respite worker.
  • When flying, allow for longer connection times between flights, and arrange for wheelchair or cart transportation between terminals or gates. Similarly, when driving, allow for more frequent stops for eating, stretching and using the restroom.
  • Be aware of medication side effects, such as susceptibility to the sun or interaction with certain types of foods, especially since traveling typically means exposure to different climates and cuisines.
  • Work with your hotel or resort to request a room that best meets the needs of all travelers. Depending on the specific needs of your group, this might mean a first-floor room, adjoining rooms, special accommodations for wheelchairs or strollers, or a room that is close to an elevator.
  • Involve all family members, young and old, in selecting activities and sightseeing destinations. Allowing each family member to choose a “top pick” helps everyone feel more a part of the process and ensures a good range of activities.
  • Regardless of whether your loved one travels or stays home, ensure that supplies are stocked and plentiful. The CareGiver Partnership’s automatically scheduled delivery service, Never Run Out (SM), is invaluable for making sure needed products are always on hand.
The CareGiver Partnership offers the largest caregiver resource directory on the Web, with a wealth of useful information for all caregivers, including family travelers. Visit CareGiver Resources to search by topic; browse for products that facilitate travel needs; and consult with a Product Specialist or a Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic-trained Nutritionist. With the right information, products and resources, caregivers can ensure a safe, enjoyable vacation experience for the whole family.

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct to consumer retailer and resource providing support, convenience and old-fashioned customer service to those caring for a loved one. The company provides the largest online library of resources on subjects which are most important to caregivers and offers more than 2,700 homecare products. Product Specialists answer the phone within three rings and assist in helping customers choose just the right product. The company also offers its patent-pending automatically scheduled delivery service, Never Run OutSM, which ships supplies automatically based on need.


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