5 Tips for Traveling with Elderly Parents
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Our family loves to travel. And since we are a multi-generational family, we have to take all age ranges into consideration when planning a vacation. While traveling with little ones is something I have done for decades and don’t even think much about when preparing, traveling with elderly parents is new to me and it does present some unique challenges as well as blessings. Here are my 5 Tips for Traveling with Elderly Parents.
5 Tips for Traveling with Elderly Parents
#1 – Think about mobility
The elderly are not as stable and often have mobility issues. Make sure you place a call to the lodging office and confirm that the location has an elevator for convenience or that you have confirmed first floor rooms. This is a good time to also ask about rooms that have a walk-in shower instead of a bathroom. If traveling by air, make sure to arrange for assistance at all flight changes and layovers.
#2 – Think about medical requirements
Most elderly have medical issues or medication schedules that will need to be taken into consideration when planning a trip. Make sure to look at possible destinations to stop so they can stretch, eat, or take their medicines on time while traveling. Have a list of the medicines and dosing schedules along with water or all the supplies needed such as a cooler for any medicine that needs to be kept chilled.
#3 – Think about physical limits
While hopping in the car and traveling for 12 hours only stopping for fuel may sound like a great trip to you, I can assure you that this isn’t the case for most elderly. Just sitting in the same position for hours can be uncomfortable at best and actually painful (especially the next day when the exhaustion catches up). Plan on stopping at a reasonable time in the evening to allow everyone time to relax and rest. We limit road travel to 300 miles in a day when traveling with our elderly parents. This ends up being about five hours in the vehicle and that is taxing enough but not too long.
#4 – Think about nutritional requirements
The elderly need to eat smaller and more frequently than most of us. Plan on bringing healthy and appropriate snacks that can be eaten while traveling. We stop and eat our larger meal at lunch instead of supper for several reasons.
First, it gives us a break during the day, and we try to stop where there are other things to look at or do near where we stop to eat. We like to tour memorial cemeteries as a family. It is amazing to see how well maintained these parks and centers are for the fallen. All the men and several of the women in our family have served in the armed forces. Paying tribute at all the memorials we find on our travels is something we enjoy doing. We have met so many nice people while walking through or taking a rest at a memorial. The stories and honor the veterans have is so heart warming.
The other reason we have our larger meal of the day at lunch is that we have found lunch prices and portions are always a better value. With a large family, this is something to consider. Also by having a lighter dinner, Mom and Dad seem to settle down and rest easier than trying to sleep on a large meal. We pack popcorn or other snacks for the younger crew (you know the teens that have to eat the 4th meal of the day around 11 pm).
#5 – Think about personal limits
Maybe you have a steel bladder, but I can promise you that Mom and Dad do not! Add that restrooms are not always available when you need them while traveling, planning for accidents while still maintaining dignity is important. We pack a senior bag aka port-a-purse (so named by Mom) that contains personal items for cleaning and freshening up in the restroom.
Our senior bag (port-a-purse) contains items such as a change of undergarments and pants, wipes, lotion, disposable washcloths, incontinence products (underpads or undergarments), and a zippered bag for soiled items. Now when Mom or Dad need to freshen up, they just grab the bag and can take care of their needs in the restroom in private. And should assistance be needed, everything is in the bag and no one has to dig through the suitcases or find a store in the middle of nowhere.
The idea of a senior bag aka port-a-purse came up while we were discussing our next family vacation. As health issues and concerns change, we see how blessed we are to have our parents still with us and we also want to honor their needs as well as respect their privacy. Once the port-a-purse became a standard bag that gets packed, traveling away from home, even if over night was not as stressful for Mom. Now I keep a port-a-purse in the trunk at all times. I like being prepared, and I think it gives Mom a little more comfort knowing that I have her covered should something happen.
Whether shopping inside the club or online, I love that we can purchase everything we need to fill our port-a-purse as a member of our local Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club Family Caregiving with Member’s Mark products make caring for our parents a little easier and a whole lot less stressful. Being a four generation family means everyone looks out for each other. The Great Grans love on the little ones and the teens chase the toddlers. It is such a blessing to see everyone together at family events and know that while we don’t know how long we will all be together, we will continue to love and care for each other as long as we can. I think teaching our children that they need to love and care for their elderly family members is important and our senior bag is just one way we can show respect and care while maintaining dignity. Besides that…my hubster and myself are not spring chickens in any sense of the word. He turned the big 60 this year and I celebrated the double nickel. Watching us care for our Moms is a great way to teach the younger ones how to care for us.
We have found that Sam’s Club always provides premium quality products at a great value. Skin wellness is important and the Member’s Mark caregiving products are carefully designed to offer superior protection. So if you are traveling with or caring for an elderly parent, remember that Sam’s Club is your one-stop shop for all things caregiving. In addition to the items needed for our senior bag, Sam’s Club offers prescription refills and often there are free health screenings that can be scheduled while you shop.
Are you a member of the Sam’s Club? I will tell you that club members can save money and be assured that they are helping their loved ones maintain as much of their independence and dignity as possible. Something we will all come to treasure even if we are too young to understand it now.
Visit the Family Caregiving Site or the Member’s Mark online site for more information and deals on the caregiving products available near you. Also connect on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest promotions and offers on these much needed products.