Most of us enjoy the opportunity to visit new cities or countries and soak up the local culture. Travel and travel programs give us the opportunity to try new foods and experience new adventures. It is one of the reasons the Port of Call series we host each month at our communities is so popular. If you are planning a multigenerational family vacation this summer, we have a few senior safe ideas to help make your trip a memorable one.
Planning Tips for an Intergeneration Summer Vacation
1. Set realistic expectations. When you are planning your intergenerational travel, be realistic about how much your senior loved one can do in a day. It is especially important on the days you will spend traveling. If your family is used to a jam-packed vacation schedule and traveling around the clock until you arrive at your destination, you might need to adjust your plans this year.
2. Research local resources. If the aging loved one who will be traveling with you has health conditions, investigate health care centers near your destination just in case you need them. You might also want to talk with the hotel to see if they have caregivers available to stay with your loved one part of the day if they aren’t safe staying alone and can’t participate in all of the activities you’d like to enjoy. It will allow your kids to see the sites that interest them without putting your senior family member at risk.
3. Communicate what you need. Be prepared to quickly explain if a senior loved one has a cognitive impairment. This is especially important if you have air travel planned. Busy airports and car rental centers might be overwhelming for them. For example, the security screening process at the airport might be frightening for someone with dementia. Be ready to go ahead of your loved one in line and explain their elderly travel situation to airport screeners.
4. Plan to accommodate mobility challenges. Many vacations include a lot of walking. From Disneyland to the Grand Canyon or the Smithsonian, summer travelers can log a lot of miles on their sneakers. If a senior has mobility issues, these destinations may be challenging. Find out if attractions have wheelchairs available for loan or rent before you go and ask if you can make reservations. That may make outings more manageable.
5. Plan to take rest breaks. If you are traveling with an elderly loved one, understand ahead of time that they may need to take breaks more often than you do. Plan to stop every few hours for a restroom break and to stretch your legs. That will ensure everyone arrives at your vacation destination in good health and good spirits.
6. Pack medical information. While we hope you don’t have to use it on your family vacation, take a copy of your senior loved one’s medical file just in case. Be sure you have their medication list, medical history, and names and contact information for their physicians.
Finally, don’t forget to capture the memories of your multigenerational family vacations by taking photos and video of your senior loved ones enjoying the time with your children. You can even use a free travel blog site to document your family adventures