Now that the holidays are just around the corner, you’re probably starting to make arrangements. For many families, the holidays involve nothing more than getting in the car and driving to the destination, whether it’s a grandparent’s home or uncle’s cabin. But for families who will be traveling with an elderly parent or grandparent, there’s a lot more preparation involved.
If you plan on bringing your loved along for the holidays, here are some tips to keep in mind to make your travels successful and stress free.
Consult with a Doctor
Before you make any plans, first consult with your parent’s doctor. Make sure they are cleared by their doctor, particularly if they have a condition like Alzheimer’s. The doctor may approve a drive across the state but not an airplane, for instance. Or they may recommend staying local instead.
Arrange for Accommodations in Advance
Rather than trying to make accommodations at the last minute, coordinate them in advance. If your parent needs a wheelchair at the airport or special seating, phone the air personnel or travel company before you leave. Also keep in mind any surgical implants that could set off metal detectors, and have your parent dress in comfy shoes that can be slipped on and off.
Research Medical Facilities
You want to be prepared in case your parent has any trouble while you’re away, so take a few minutes to research medical facilities in the area where you’ll be staying. You can also get recommendations from family that live there. Call ahead to make sure they accept your parent’s insurance.
Follow a Predictable Routine
Bringing your loved one along is a great way to make memories; just be sure that everyone in your family is flexible to their needs. You should follow a predictable routine that is similar to what your parent follows at home in terms of medication times, meal times and rest times. When you know the routine, you can also coordinate flights or driving times more efficiently.
Plan for Breaks and Downtime
Your parent can’t just be on the go. They will need time to stop and relax, so build this into your holiday traveling schedule. When you do, your trip will be more relaxed instead of rushed. Remember that the holidays are a time for family, sharing in traditions and making new memories, so it’s worth any sacrifices you have to make to bring your loved one along.