Top 7 Tips for Travel
when Caring for a Loved One
As a mother and a care partner for my parents over the years I have learned the simple rules don’t change much from young to old when trying to make travel simple and comfortable for all.
- Keep 3 Things as Your Main Focus Are they Safe, Happy and Painfree. These three simple words will help you reframe things as adjustments need to be made, keeping the person you are caring for comfortable.
- Be Prepared and have a Backup Plan Things rarely go as planned, so plan for that!
- Assess the Time Frame – Realistically how long will the trip take from start to finish? Then assess the person you are traveling with. How many if any stops will be needed to stretch the legs, use the restroom or grab a something to eat so everyone is comfortable on the trip. Remember to take into consideration if you are traveling with a young child with short legs or a person who walks slower then you. Many of us just assume everyone will adjust to our pace, not always the case!
- Before you leave – Don’t take the simple things granted. To maintain comfort and control make a basic check list and use it.
- directions, map, GPS…
- tickets, passports, money, health insurance cards, contact information of where you are going to…
- emergency contact information in case your phone dies, including doctors
- eye glasses, sun glasses, hearing aids, dentures…
- clothes, jackets, proper shoes, swim suits
- incontinence items if needed
- entertainment & comfort items blankets, toys, books, games…
- medications – make sure you have enough and a couple days extra. It’s not a bad idea to have a list of the medications with you as well and if traveling by plane keep them in your carry on along with a backup set of clothes.
- electronics – phones, computers, cameras, cords…
- comfort items – snacks (their favorites), water, gum…
- extra set of clothes in case there is an accident
- accessibility equipment – strollers, scooters, walkers, canes. If you need a transportation at an airport make sure you arrange ahead of time.
- gifts and cards if you are going to an event
So make a list that is pertinent to your lifestyle.
For example, as routine and basic as it is, check to see if someone used the restroom. It can be a critical piece for all when traveling no matter what age. One of the most respective ways to do this is to let them know you are going to use the restroom before leaving and ask them if they have gone yet. Just make it simple rule all those traveling do this before leaving so no one feels singled out. This also give you a baseline for an empty bladder and you can monitor how much liquid they are taking in.
- Be An Investigator Read the signals your loved one is giving you. Most will be nonverbal. Are they getting cranky, restless or sleepy? Take the appropriate action to keep them comfortable. When they are comfortable you will be more comfortable and less stressed.
- Look For The JOY Keep in mind you will only find what you are looking for. So look for the small simple things like a smile and giggle. Try to capture this moments on camera and video so you can replay these times later. They are always great conversation starters.
- Say Thank YouSo often we forget the power of “Thank You.” Use it to your advantage. It will help all appreciate and respect one another for the roles we play as a team traveling together.
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I am a member of AARP’s blogger kitchen cabinet on caregiving issues. All opinions are my own.