The retirement years offer opportunities to explore the world. It’s a great way to overcome the fears of leaving the comfort zone. You may have a senior loved one staying in an assisted living community for quite a while, but they also need to breathe some fresh air, broaden their horizons, and meet new people. All these things are possible if they can travel for the remaining years of their life.
While spontaneity sounds fun when you’re traveling by yourself or friends, everything is completely different when you have a senior friend in tow. Traveling with a senior companion means focusing on the quality of your trips than the number of destinations. Of course, you don’t want them to make the trip difficult for them. Strolling at a slower pace may sound uncommon for young travelers, but it actually gives you more time to appreciate the scenery.
Traveling offers plenty of benefits for our senior companions by improving their physical, mental, and physical health. It also helps them to become more emotionally stable, open-minded, and physically active. So if you’re planning to book a trip with a senior loved one, you may have a few concerns about giving them an amazing travel experience without unexpected consequences. While you’re preparing your travel plans, here are the ways to prepare a senior companion for traveling.
First and foremost, arrange a doctor’s visit for a pre-travel checkup four to six weeks before the trip. During the checkup, inform the doctor about the destination and its climate. The doctor may provide necessary medications for altitude sickness and traveler’s diarrhea. The latter is more common among seniors, so observe water and food precautions.
It’s also important to bring enough medication for your senior companion for the entire duration of the trip. But take note of the type of drugs prohibited overseas. You may also pack a few extras for unexpected travel delays. For additional measure, bring a copy of the prescription and keep the medicines in their original container. A great tip is to pack the medicine in a carry-on bag instead of checked baggage in case it gets lost.
If your elderly companion suffers from chronic medical conditions, prepare yourself for emergencies. Secure an emergency contact list for hospitals and police stations. Find out if you have friends living in the place you’re traveling to help you when something goes wrong.
Since seniors tend to be forgetful, make sure to handle all essential documents such as the passport and identification card. For their safety, give them your contact details and ID so that they can contact you if they lost their way. You may also register for special assistance while booking tickets, so the airline will provide a wheelchair or escort.
It is common for travelers to take advantage of their trip by exhausting their itinerary and visiting as many places as they can. But when you’re with an elderly companion, they certainly get tired easily. When planning trips, provide several stopovers to allow them to rest, drink water, and catch their breath.
Successful traveling requires extra planning. This will give time to search for accommodations designed for seniors with special needs and limited mobility. Many hotels are improving their accessibility for senior travelers. Some of them have accessible rooms, ceiling-track lifts, and wheelchairs. You can also search for niche businesses dedicated to seniors, such as escort services, mobility aids, and specialized medical transportation.
Find out if the tourist spots offer online ticket booking. If they have one, buy tickets in advance to reduce waiting time. Booking tickets ahead of time provides more time to explore. This is especially true during peak seasons since waiting in line takes a huge portion of your time and energy.
Depending on the senior’s condition, you may expect to spend more to ensure they receive comfortable transportation and accommodation. There’s a higher chance for them to feel uneasy if they stay in backpacker inns.
Allow them to roam
It is natural for us to be overprotective of our senior companions. But we don’t want to be too restricting that we end up spoiling all the fun for them. Prioritize their safety by keeping them within your sight. Let them do their thing by exploring tourist spots and talking to locals.
Be patient whenever they make mistakes, especially if they do or say something embarrassing. You’ll be surprised if they end up making friends more than you did! But be on the lookout for cultural gaffes and unfamiliar customs.
By following the suggestions above, your senior companion will surely have a great time with you. They may not remember each detail of the journey, but it will give them a warm feeling of enjoying the trip with their loved ones. It will also give them an incredibly empowering experience to navigate the world and return home stronger.