How Your Travel Needs Change as You Age
Planning a Safe and Enjoyable Vacation
Are you planning a trip for yourself and an aging parent or loved one? More older adults are enjoying travel in their retirement, but as you age, your travel needs change. Keep these tips in mind to plan a safe and enjoyable vacation.
Select your destination with care. Does your loved one have any physical limitations that will impact their mobility on the trip? Be mindful of how your loved one will get around: Will you drive or fly? If you fly, how much walking will be involved between landing and getting transportation to your hotel? Does your hotel have an elevator?
Don’t overbook your itinerary. While some travelers just want to relax on a vacation, others are tempted to pack in as many activities as possible. However, when you have an older adult in tow, consider sticking to a similar routine each day. There is comfort and familiarity in routine, even when you are abroad or in an unfamiliar destination. Create a predictable schedule with similar meal and rest times each day, and allow your loved one to keep consistent bed and wake times. Plan to sightsee during “off” hours, such as early in the morning or in the evening, when your loved one may be more alert.
Consider an organized tour or cruise. Cruises are very popular multigenerational vacations as there is something for everyone. Organized tours take some of the guesswork out of sightseeing and often include transportation, such as a tour bus, which can be an ideal way for many older adults to take in the sights safely.
Organize your loved one’s medical care needs before you leave. This may seem overwhelming, so take it in steps. The more planning you do in advance, the easier it will be to meet your loved one’s medical needs on vacation.
- Depending on your destination, learn what vaccinations you may need before your trip. Keep in mind that some may require you to complete them more than 60 days out.
- Discuss your travel plans with your loved one’s primary care provider. Get their input on whether the trip is feasible and safe for your loved one.
- Determine a schedule for your loved one’s medications. For example, if there will be a time zone shift, should they adjust the time of day that they usually take their medications?
- Keep medications in their original pharmacy containers. This will make it easier as you go through airport security or customs.
- Gather your loved one’s medical documentation. Create a list of every medication they take—including the generic name—and when and why they take it, along with their healthcare provider’s contact information.
- Plan to prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). When we sit for a long time, we are at risk of DVT, which occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins in our body, usually the legs. Give your loved one breaks from sitting, or have them wear compression socks during long travel days.
If we can provide additional guidance or support as you plan a multigenerational trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out.