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Travel is a great way for everyone to lower stress levels, avoid monotony, increase activity, brighten one’s outlook on life, reconnect with family and friends, and even develop new friendships.
However, travel can be especially challenging for seniors and for families who want to include an elderly person in their trips. Fortunately, we at InnovAge know that some simple advance planning can make all the difference.
Here are a few of our expert travel tips for seniors.
1. Keep a travel bag packed at all times.
A travel bag is something you should have packed and easily accessible. Plan to take this with you on any trip – whether it’s a short outing or an extended visit. If you are traveling via plane or train, keep these items with you in your carry-on. Here is a list of things to keep in the travel bag:
2. Drink a lot of water.
- An extra jacket or blanket
- First aid kit
- Living will, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders or power of attorney (keep these items laminated and together in a packet)
- Extra disposable briefs or pads (if needed)
- Medications in original bottles
When traveling, it is important to keep hydrated, even more than normal. For seniors, dehydration is one of the top reasons for hospital visits during the summer. Six to eight glasses of water a day is recommended.
3. Eat healthy.
Try to make healthy eating choices as you’re traveling. You will be eating out more, and it is important to consider foods that will help to give you energy and keep you healthy.
4. Rest and sleep are important.
When planning your travel schedule, consider extra rest stops and make sure you are getting full nights of sleep.
5. Identify bathrooms and exits.
Identify and be aware of where bathrooms and exits are located in places you are visiting including airports, train stations, restaurants, hotels, etc.
6. Buy tickets in advance.
If possible, buy prepaid tickets so you don’t have to stand in line. If you do have to stand in line, go with a partner and find a nearby seat where you can take breaks from standing.
7. Review emergency plans and identify meeting places.
If you are staying in a hotel, be sure to review the emergency plan. Always set up points where you will meet your partner, group or family. If you get separated, go to the identified meeting place and wait there.
8. Travel with a cell phone.
Always travel with a fully charged cell phone. Put a label with contact numbers on back so you can easily call for help.
9. Rent the right vehicle.
When renting a vehicle, select a sedan or van. A sedan or van is easier for seniors to get in and out of. If someone in your group uses a walker or wheel chair, make sure it will fit in the trunk.
10. Bring extra batteries.
Be sure to pack an extra set of batteries for hearing aids or other necessary medical devices.
11. Plan for vision needs.
Don’t forget to wear your glasses or contacts and bring an extra set if you have one. The better you can see, the more comfortable you will be.
12. Plan ahead as much as possible.
If possible, call ahead to any destination you plan to visit to see if it is handicap-accessible, has walker access, etc. You can also arrange special dietary needs with some airlines, hotels and other service providers in advance.
13. Plan for medical needs.
If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, call ahead and get refills on prescriptions, oxygen, etc., as necessary. Alert your doctor’s office that you are going on a trip in case of emergency.
Stay healthy and safe with InnovAge. InnovAge is a family of non-profit organizations that serves as the comprehensive resource for Colorado’s aging population. InnovAge provides a broad spectrum of services to enable older adults to live independently in their homes and communities. InnovAge services include health and medical programs, day centers, home care, dedicated memory loss programs, care management services and senior housing. For more information, visit www.MyInnovAge.org or call 1-888-992-4464.