Families will travel near and far during the holiday season to spend time with relatives they don’t see often enough during the year. As fun as these gatherings are, extended travel can be hard on all of us, especially the elderly. They can be overwhelmed by driving long distances on busy roads, getting used to new plans, and being away from the comforts of home. This is why caring for your elderly family members should be a top priority when traveling over the holidays.
Traveling can also frighten the elderly who are coping with memory concerns. Diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, may trigger frustration and anxiety when daily routines are changed.
Enhance the Good Times and Minimize Stress
Fortunately, you can minimize the stress your elderly loved ones and the entire family experience during holiday travel through the following recommendations:
Have a Plan
It’s important to have a game plan before traveling. Consider writing a schedule. Sharing these plans with your elderly family members will help them feel included and prepared, helping to minimize travel anxiety.
Take time to organize any medicine needed and store them in a place that is easy to access. Make copies of important documents, such as medical records and prescription doses and schedules, to prepare for an emergency that could arise.
Ask for Help
Ask about special accommodations for the elderly where you are traveling. Most airlines offer special rows for passengers with disabilities, which makes traveling easier for individuals who use wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility equipment. You’ll also want to ask hotels and restaurants if they have any special accommodations for relatives coping with dietary or other restrictions.
Take Your Time
Never forget to take your time. If travel plans are rushed in any way, your elderly family members’ discomfort levels will inevitably rise. Always plan extra time for unexpected travel delays or other holdups.
Holiday traveling doesn’t have to be difficult when caring for the elderly. Take the right steps to ensure a smooth journey and visit so everyone can enjoy the holidays together.
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