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Not only are your kids growing up fast, but good ole grandma and grandpa are growing old as well. And as they age, you’ll find yourself playing parent for both your kids and now for your own parents. You will be taking care of them as they did for you.
When it comes to traveling with an elderly parent, there are some added precautions/considerations that need to be taken. The following tips can help make traveling as easy possible for all parties, grams, gramps, you, the spouse and the kids.
Obviously, you wouldn’t expect grandma and grandpa to be lugging around bags everywhere you go during a trip. And with the kids, it could be hit or miss. If you have young children, you and the husband are stuck with the bags. So, make sure you pack light. Don’t assume you’ll be getting any outside help bringing around luggage for the entire clan.
Choose Flights at Optimal Times
It’s important to consider the logistics of bringing your elderly parent with you during travel. Major components to factor in are how they will get to the airport and what flight time will work best for their comfort.
Try not to book an early morning flight that may be hard to get them to in time. At the same time, a late-night flight may not be the most ideal if they go to bed early and it also risks the chance of getting delayed and creates more wait time which can be extremely tiring and uncomfortable to seniors.
Plan Fitting Activities
The types of activities the grandparents can participate in may be a bit limited. Try not to plan a jam-packed schedule of activities that is unrealistic for them to last through the entire trip.
Instead, plan activities sparingly, and make it something easy where they can relax and enjoy. Activities that allow the least movement are ideal. Think – a bus tour or cruise that can be accessible for elders and be accommodating for their needs.
Take Safety Precautions
If your aging parents can take care of themselves, for the most part, taking them on a trip may not be all that much of an inconvenience. They may want to wander off on their own and explore as they please, but just take extra safety measures to make sure they will be okay by themselves.
You can give them a medical alert system to wear, like the Lively Mobile—the device connects them to 24/7 medical assistance and notifies you of any emergencies, such as accidental falls, so you can get to them right away.
Make Meds and Essentials Easily Accessible
Daily prescriptions, likely multiple ones at that, are a norm for aging grandparents. Be sure to pack their medications and essentials in an easily accessible bag when traveling.
This could mean a separate small, carry-on bag, dedicated to just these items or placing them at the front of a carry-on. Do not place them in a checked bag and risk the chance of not having the medication in time should a delay or mix up happen at baggage claim.
Request Special Services
It’s beneficial to plan ahead for any accommodations elderly parents may need on the trip. Reserve and request any special services needed, like for example, wheelchairs or designated seating for disabled travelers.
Additionally, if there are any dietary restrictions that need to be addressed, make sure the places you are going can have solutions or alternative options that can meet these requirements.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Sometimes trips may not go as planned, especially when traveling with elders. Sudden sickness or fatigue may occur and that’s okay. Be flexible and ensure that you have that flexibility by purchasing travel insurance.
For whatever reason that you may not be able to hop on the next flight or have to cancel a booked boat cruise, you can do it without hesitation knowing you haven’t lost money. More importantly, your parent is a priority and catering to their needs can be automatic.
Getting to take the whole family, including grandma and grandpa, on a trip is a rare opportunity. Seize the invaluable experience. By taking the aforementioned considerations when traveling with elders, you can make sure it’s a safe, comfortable and enjoyable one for the entire abode.