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20 Dec 2017

Holiday Tips for Families Travelling with Elderly Loved Ones


Topics: Senior Health

The holidays are a joyful, yet busy time. They can also be stressful. This is especially true if you and your family are travelling. Maybe you’re planning to escape the snow for a little while. Maybe you have many relatives to visit across the country.

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Travelling with senior relatives can make trips and family visits more difficult to plan. Don’t sweat it. Instead, follow these holiday tips if you’ll be travelling with your elderly loved ones.

Make a List (and Check It Twice)

Take a page out of old St. Nick’s book and double-check your packing list. This is great advice for anyone who plans to do any travelling, but it’s especially helpful for those travelling with seniors. Use the packing list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, like medications.

You can also have your loved ones help you pack. They can use the list to pack themselves, or you can assist them. At the end of the packing session, you can double-check against the list to make sure you’ve remembered everything.

Prepare Your Loved One

For many older people, travelling is exciting; however, some may experience anxiety or worry about their upcoming trip. A little preparation can lay fears to rest.

If you’re travelling to see relatives you haven’t visited in a while, let your loved one get reacquainted with them via phone or video call. This can be especially helpful for those who suffer from memory loss.

Also keep your loved one in the loop. If you can, involve them in the trip planning stages. Explain where you’re going, who you’ll be visiting, what you’ll be doing, and how you’ll get there.

Remember Medications

Before you hit the road, fill up a dosette for your loved one. If you’re going on an extended trip, you may want to take more medication with you. If you’re travelling on a plane, be sure to take the prescription-labelled packaging with you. You may want to put larger prescriptions in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on.

You should also carry a list of medications with you. This way, if something happens and your loved one needs medical attention, you can provide emergency workers and medical staff with much-needed information.

Make Trips Senior-Friendly

Some seniors decide they don’t want to travel during the holiday season. They may feel it’s too far. Some have concerns about travelling by car. Others might be afraid of air travel. No matter your mode of transport, be sure to make it as senior-friendly as possible.

At the airport, make arrangements to help your loved one get to and from the gate. Most airports offer accessibility and mobility assistance to help elderly patrons and those with limited mobility get where they need to be.

Consider jet lag and other discomforts of air travel as well. They affect your loved one too!

You have much more control over road trips, so arrange them to accommodate your loved one. Schedule extra pit stops along the way, so you can eat, drink, use the restroom, and stretch more frequently.

Respect Decisions

If your loved one tells you they don’t want to go on the trip, you should hear them out. You may be able to change their mind, but they might also feel safer and more comfortable at home. If and when it’s possible, you should respect their decision not to accompany you.

You’ll need to make the appropriate arrangements for care during your absence. You might consider additional in-home care if it’s available. Respite care may even be the best option for you and your loved one.

Be Patient

You should probably remember this rule no matter where you travel, when, or with whom. Being patient will help you calmly deal with situations as they crop up during your travels.

Keep this golden rule in mind when you’re travelling with seniors this holiday season: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey!


Tennille Kerrigan

Tenille is the president of Senior Helpers Canada, the premier franchise that delivers on what families and their loved ones need most. She has bachelor’s degree in business administration from York University, and has over 10 years of experience as a business owner and director. With Senior Helpers, our franchisees provide the professionalism and expert care that families and their aging loved ones require.

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