Seniors do not have to give up traveling because they are getting older. Traveling becomes more meaningful as one gets older. A lifetime of experience allows seniors to fully appreciate new endeavors and adventures. All the years of hard work must amount to something, and what better way to reap the fruits of labor than with travel and leisure?
However, being older often means that travel isn’t very easy. When flying, driving long distances, or going on cruises, senior citizens and older travelers must be more cautious than others. There are physical limitations that seniors have to work with. On top of that, older people tend to be more prone to accidents. Seniors are also easy targets for thieves.
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Safe Travel for Seniors
Unpredictable temperature and climate changes, hours of walking and standing, and the stress of travel can all have a negative impact on an elderly person’s health and well-being. There are, however, several ways to make travel safer and more comfortable. With enough caution and the right gadgets and gizmos, traveling can be a tremendously enjoyable experience for seniors.
Here are a few strategies that will help keep seniors safe away from home:
Finding Senior-Friendly Travel Services
Whether it’s a family vacation, a trip for two, or a solo adventure, reserving and confirming must be done as soon as possible. When the destination and dates have been determined, look into airlines, Amtrak, buses, and cruise lines. Seek the most direct and shortest travel times for air and land transportation.
Enroll in a no-cost frequent flier program if you have that option, for example. This should make it easier to access the itinerary, provide benefits at the airport and on the flight, and provide a channel for requesting special services. Lastly, keep in mind that although it was once very common, senior discounts are now history.
Preparing Personal and Medical Documents
Your passport, driver’s license, Medicare and insurance cards, trip tickets and itinerary, boarding pass, and any physician prescriptions and/or statements should all be photocopied at least three times. One complete set should be packed in a hand-carry bag, one set can be forwarded to family members or trusted companions who are at the destination, and one set can be left at home.
This will ensure that traveling will be as convenient as possible for seniors, making the trip safe, secure, and hassle-free. Bringing documents along ensures that seniors will not have to worry about missing documents at any given destination. This is one small but important way to keep stress at bay.
Looking Out for Checkpoints
If someone is in a wheelchair at transportation centers, access to and through TSA (transportation security administration) security may actually be easier and quicker. It allows people to skip the long line of travelers, making it more convenient for seniors who are in wheelchairs.
Educate yourself and your senior companion about TSA procedures regarding any medical condition that would set off alarms, such as surgical implants, prosthetics, or infusion ports. To avoid unwanted delays, get a physician’s statement and make sure that the senior brings the necessary documentation.
Keeping Every Step Safe
Wearing flats will help senior tourists keep steady on their feet. Comfortable shoes will help them get through entire days of walking and traveling. Even modest heels can increase the risk of spraining an ankle or falling. The elderly will be more comfortable and balanced in flats than in any other kind of footwear. Flat sports shoes may also help support weak knees.
In addition to wearing comfortable footwear, walkers can help with keeping seniors away from falls and accidents. There are many types of walkers. Consult a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or an occupational therapist, when choosing the right walker for elders. You can make your own list of preferences and compare it to professional recommendations.
Travel insurance is a plan that protects people from financial risks and losses that may occur while traveling. These losses include minor inconveniences like delayed suitcases or major problems like overseas medical emergencies. Aside from financial security, another significant advantage of travel insurance is access to assistance services wherever in the world you are.
While travel insurance is important for people of all ages, it is especially important for older travelers who are more likely to fall and injure themselves, become ill. Insurance will come in handy in the event of any major or minor accident, disruption, or loss.
Watching What the Seniors Eat
Older people’s stomachs are more sensitive, and they are frequently on restricted diets. It’s understandable to want to forget those facts when you’re away from home, but doing so could have unintended consequences. Think twice about getting greasy hamburgers or flaming-hot chili. Unless you’d rather spend more time in your hotel room than out and about, you might want to keep fatty, spicy, or heavy meals away from the elderly.
Keep allergies in mind as well. If you are planning to dig into some exotic or unfamiliar delicacies, make sure to ask the cook about the ingredients. Always keep anti-allergy medications inside your bag too, preferably in a separate and easy-to-access pocket. That way, any food-related emergency can be remedied immediately.
Packing All Medications in Carry-On Luggage
In addition to anti-allergy medication, all other pills and tablets must be kept in carry-on luggage. These should be accessible at all times so that nobody will have a hard time looking for them when needed. With the number of medications that seniors must take, it is best to organize the pills before placing them in the bag.
Follow all airport regulations for carry-on luggage, and keep medications in approved containers for easy retrieval. Include all prescription information as well as any other supplies required to take the medication. Packing everything in a clear plastic bag will help you get through the baggage check faster.
Investing in a Mobility Scooter
Although it’s always a great idea to keep an eye on the elderly at all times, there are moments when we can’t give full attention. Although they need care and attention, seniors also enjoy having a sense of freedom and independence. It is empowering for the elderly to know that they can walk, navigate, and travel with minimal aid.
Mobility scooters enable the elderly to move around with ease. Seniors can get to places that are difficult to reach on foot by using a mobility scooter. They can even use scooters to get around commercial establishments because they have access ramps that can be used without assistance.
Trying Not to Stand Out
One of the perks of being older is that one can buy flashy, expensive, or luxurious paraphernalia. Of course, it is tempting to flaunt these items, especially jewelry and other adornments. However, it is not very practical to showcase wealth while traveling. Everyone must keep this in mind, especially the elderly.
Carrying nice jewelry, gold watches, and other expensive items will make anybody an easy target for thieves. Many people believe that older travelers are less aware of their surroundings, more unsteady on their feet, and are thus easy targets. As mentioned, keeping an eye on our elderly companions may not be possible at all times so it’s important to keep a low profile.
Wearing Loose and Comfortable Clothing
Seniors will have a harder time walking around and moving about in uncomfortable clothing than their younger counterparts. Although many seniors want to appear fashionable and hip while traveling, their safety and comfort are far more important. A safe trip is always going to be more enjoyable for seniors than one that requires a lot of maintenance.
Wearing loose, comfortable clothing lowers the risk of heat stroke, hypertension, and high blood pressure. When sitting or standing for long periods of time, loose clothing reduces the risk of blood clots. On long flights, compression stockings can help stimulate circulation in the lower legs.
Traveling with Family
The elderly love it when they are with people who are close to them. No one else comes closer than family. Being around children and grandchildren will put a smile on elderly people’s faces wherever they may be.
Travel with your parents. It won’t make you feel like a caregiver. Instead, your travel and destination will most likely provide an escape and a sense of freedom with the new setting, environment, and opportunity. Family trips, no matter how old we are, lead to wonderful family memories made together.
The Final Word
These tips help save you the trouble, the time, and the stress that comes with planning. Now that you have everything you need to plan the perfect vacation with your senior companion, it’s time to take a leap and pursue the exciting family adventure that you’ve always longed for! Got any other tricks in the bag?
Comment below and let us know how you make your trips and adventures with your elderly loved ones safe, comfortable, and memorable!
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