It’s always a treasure to be surrounded by loved ones during the holiday season. There is nothing like a full house of family and friends gathered together to celebrate and reminisce on wonderful holiday seasons past. For many, this means traveling across states and even oceans to be reunited with loved ones for the holidays. As beloved family members age, traveling long distances can be nerve-wracking for all parties involved.
This article will discuss how to prepare your elderly loved ones for safe holiday travel to ensure a smooth journey and a wonderful holiday together.
Book and Organize In Advance
The holiday season heats up shortly after Halloween. From black Friday to Cyber Monday, end-of-year recitals, and the obligatory holiday work party, the last thing you want to do is worry about travel. It’s important to buy tickets for holiday travel far in advance and for many families that require a level of organization that might feel foreign and uncomfortable.
It might sound crazy but start planning holiday logistics around July. The earlier you purchase flights, the better the deals. Holiday travel isn’t only busy, but it’s also pricey. Follow the advice from popular travel blogs like Thrifty Traveler on how to track airfare prices and get the best deal.
When you book your flight, remember to let the airline know if the traveler will need assistance. Airlines can help travelers from when they arrive to when they leave the airport at their new destination. You can request help with baggage, wheelchair access, transportation to and from the gate, boarding and exiting the aircraft, and even oxygen access for the duration of the flight. Airlines can be very accommodating to ensure families are united with loved ones during the holidays.
Travel companions have been a part of our culture for thousands of years but, in the last century, have fallen out of popularity. Most elderly people could use a travel companion for ease and company and ensure they make it to their destinations safely. Today, there are professional private services that help facilitate this type of quality care.
Some travel companions are skilled nurses hired to provide astute and attentive care toward their patients throughout the travel process. Other travel companions can be CNAs and caregiving professionals who are highly trained but lack medical credentials, which sets them apart from medical travel companions. There are many options for different budgets to help seniors and others travel safely. Most travel companions are hired through agencies that specialize in the travel companion sector. However, others work independently and can be hired on job boards and other websites.
When hiring a caregiver, always be sure to vet them adequately for credentials, trustworthiness, and personality. Remember, your loved one will be spending a significant amount of time with a traveling caregiver or companion, so be sure it’s the right fit for both parties, and always run a background check before entrusting them with your loved one.
Accommodation and Comfort
Once your loved one has arrived safely, you’ll want to ensure they feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Many people want to house their senior family members and friends, while others lack room and resources. Be sure to have a very transparent conversation with your loved one about the best accommodation for their needs and desires. Have this crucial conversation as early as possible, preferably when making travel arrangements, then again closer to the time of the holiday.
Practicing open and direct communication will ensure that your loved one has the right idea of what to expect and will feel in control of their autonomy during the visit. For example, if your loved one arrives with the expectation they are staying in your house, but you booked them a hotel, this might make them feel unsafe or uncared for, likely even abandoned. It’s best to be transparent and honest when making travel arrangements to avoid hurt feelings and also to execute an appropriate plan.
Travel Accessories for Comfort and Safety
Before your loved one leaves the comfort of their home, make sure they have all the necessary travel accessories to keep them safe. Start with chargers and the necessary electronics to keep in close contact throughout the process. Consider purchasing a travel charging station so they can plug in their smartphone to replenish the battery. A charging station can also help with medical accessories that require a fresh battery. Check compatibilities before flying and make sure your loved one has access to everything they need.
Luggage and carry-on bags can be really simple and sophisticated nowadays, with pockets for storing cold items, electronics, and even a change of clothes. A change of clothes is an excellent option for seniors to keep in a carry-on should they need it for many reasons. Snacks can be kept in cold storage to replenish blood sugar levels and hydrate to keep your senior travelers feeling and functioning at their best.
If your loved one requires senior care in Hernando or anywhere in the United States this holiday season, there are many options. Creating a dialogue with your loved one is the first step to ensuring safe travel for the holidays. Make sure you seek to understand their needs and desires this holiday so expectations can be managed and met.
There are many services to help seniors travel safely. Airlines have many options to help accommodate seniors. From wheelchair rentals to gate transportation, seniors can board and exit the plane seamlessly and be on their way to a happy holiday with ease.
Travel companions are a great option for those who require medical supervision and specialized care or become easily confused. Travel companions give a quality of care that can’t be matched. Just be sure to fully vet your loved one’s travel companion before they fly together.
Finally, travel tech can provide everyone with peace of mind. Gadgets and functional luggage will help prepare seniors for their long journeys and give their families the reassurance they need while they await their loved one’s arrival.