Senior Care on the Road: Vacationing with Elderly Parents

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Senior Care on the Road: Vacationing with Elderly Parents

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Your relationship with your parents means the world to you, so you want them to enjoy a family vacation along with everyone else. This means making everything from their travel time to their hotel stay to their tourist outings as convenient as possible. If you take the time to plan properly, you can meet your parents’ senior care needs and head difficulties off at the pass. Instead of spending your family vacation stressed out and overwhelmed, you can spend it making memories that last.

Check with the doctor first.

If your parents have health problems, it is best to consult with their primary care physicians to make sure they are up for the adventure of traveling. Also, ask your parents’ physicians for special care tips that can help improve their safety during your vacation.

Consider the best mode of travel.

If you are traveling by air, try to set up a direct flight so that your parents will not be forced to change aircrafts. If either of your parents uses a wheelchair or needs early boarding accommodations, contact the airline ahead of time to make arrangements for their needs to be met. If you are traveling by car, make sure there is enough space for them to stretch out. Also, plan a route that will allow a few extra rest stops so your parents can take their medications and rehydrate without feeling rushed.

Research medical equipment suppliers.

Lugging heavy-duty equipment such as wheelchairs and tub seats is no simple feat, especially if you have to pack light. If your parents need this type of equipment, do some research to make sure there is a medical supplier nearby that will rent them to you. This way, you can get what you need shortly after you settle into your hotel room, and you don’t have to worry about bringing it with you.

Consider the level of senior care needed.

A vacation should be something everyone enjoys. If you try to take on more responsibility than you can handle, you will end up stressed out and bitter. If your parents live in an assisted living community, they probably require a high level of care.

Work something out with other family members to rotate the duties of taking care of the parents. You may also consider hiring an in-home caregiver from a reputable company to assist you during your vacation. If your parents have a private caregiver, consider asking her to accompany your family on vacation so she can help out.

Plan for downtime.

Remember, elderly parents need time to rest, so they won’t be able to follow a rigorous schedule of events. Create breaks in the schedule to allow your parents the chance to go back to the room and have a meal or nap if they need to. If you are the primary caregiver, you will likely appreciate the downtime too.

Bring medications and insurance info.

Pack all medications and label them with the correct dosage amounts and times. If you forget any medications, contact the doctor immediately so he or she can call the prescription in to the nearest pharmacy. Bring along updated medical information and insurance cards just in case of an emergency. Also, before you head out, familiarize yourself with hospitals and other medical facilities in your planned vacation area.

Vacationing with elderly parents can create priceless memories, but it can also create stress if you go into the situation unprepared. Older adults have health, mobility and other issues to contend with, so they will likely need special accommodations. When you consider your parents’ senior care needs and plan accordingly, you and your loved ones will get more out of the experience.

Worried about a loved one?  Download our tipsheet to decide if it's time to talk about senior care.


Bryan Reynolds
July 18, 2015
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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