Travel Tips for Vacationing with Your Ill or Aging Loved One
Summer is finally here — and so are summer vacations. For some, this means spontaneously packing the family up in the van and driving to the beach for a week of fun in the sun. For others, it means wondering if your loved one will even be able to make it out of the house. But just because you have an aging or ill loved one doesn’t mean you need to postpone the family trip. With the right preparations, you can help your loved one enjoy a relaxing, worry-free vacation. Here’s how:
1. Get their doctor’s approval.
First and foremost, consult with your loved one’s primary care physician and ensure that they are cleared for travel. Talk with their doctor or Delaware Hospice about any concerns or risks of traveling. If necessary, use this opportunity to make sure that your loved one is up-to-date on all vaccinations and has refills for any prescriptions.
2. Arrange special services ahead of time.
If you are planning on flying, contact the airline ahead of time and request wheelchair access at the airport, advanced boarding, or disabled seating, if necessary. You can do this for hotels, rental cars, and other vacation activities as well.
3. Pack lightly, with essential items easily accessible.
Be sure to have all the essentials handy — this includes medication (and copies of prescriptions), water and snacks, emergency phone numbers, sunscreen, and important documentation (passport, Medicare card, and travel insurance). If you are flying, be sure you take their medications in your carry-on.
4. Be flexible.
Plan for plenty of breaks and lots of downtime to accommodate your loved one’s needs. Be realistic and patient about how much activity they can or cannot do, and adjust your plans accordingly.
5. Take extra precautions when traveling to the beach or somewhere hot.
If traveling somewhere where you will be spending a lot of time in the sun, be sure to pack lots of sunscreen, loose fitting clothing, hats, and water. Make sure you know the signs of heatstroke.
6. Consider respite care if needed.
If your loved one isn’t cleared for travel — or if you simply need to get away for a break — consider respite care. After all, a rested caregiver is a better caregiver. While you recharge, your loved one can receive top-notch around-the-clock-care in our home-away-from-home at the Delaware Hospice Center.
Although traveling with an elderly or ill loved one requires a degree of preparation and caution, it can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved—a chance to visit long-distance friends, experience a new part of the world, or return to a beloved vacation spot, together.
If you’re thinking about taking a vacation with your aging and ill loved one, Delaware Hospice can offer more specific help and recommendations based on your case. Our team of professionals offers a vast range of expert guidance, care, and support.
For more information about traveling safely with your loved one—or about temporary respite care at the Delaware Hospice Center — call us at 302.478.5707.