While seniors may have to cut back in some aspects of their lives, there’s at least one area where they don’t show much sign of slowing down: travel. Whether it’s a long weekend road trip to a popular destination, a large family trip to the beach, or a trip across the ocean, seniors are traveling in large numbers. Here are a few helpful travel tips seniors should keep in mind as you begin your adventure away from home.
Travel with Medications
One of the first things you should remember when traveling as or with a senior is medications. The average elderly patient in the US is taking more than five prescription medications, so make sure you have each prescription along with the directions for how to take them. You should also include statements of medical conditions from a doctor just in case questions come up about whether the prescriptions were obtained legally. Include a few extra days worth of dosage in case of travel delays -- you don’t want to be stuck without a vital medication.
Prepare Your Home
Seniors should also prepare homes for their absence before leaving on their trip. They should secure both the inside and outside of the home in case of inclement weather, including making sure all doors and windows are closed and locked (this will keep pests out too), shutters are securely attached to the house, and all loose items are put away. During wintertime in colder-climate areas, be sure gutters are cleaned and tree branches are trimmed in case of a winter storm. It’s also important to turn the thermostat down or up (depending on the season) to avoid costly energy bills while you’re away. Don’t forget to turn off the main water shutoff valve to the house in case the pipes burst. That will help avoid water damage to the house and could prevent electrical problems as well.
Help at the Airport
If your travel includes flights, ask for assistance at the airport if necessary. Seniors can ask for help at the check-in desk or at security if they need a ride on a motorized cart or help with a wheelchair. They may also be able to go through a shorter line at security and, depending on their age, can leave on shoes and a light jacket in the security line. Priority boarding is also sometimes available, as is help with stowing bags on the plane. Seniors can also sometimes find discounted airfare as well. Before you even head to the airport, pack light. It’s hard for seniors to maneuver giant suitcases through a busy, crowded airport, so make sure to pack just the essentials to make your navigation easier.
Road trips can also be a great time for seniors who want to travel the country. Make sure the car you take is large enough to accommodate the seniors, their luggage, and any medical equipment they need to bring with them. Take your time on the road trip. Schedule plenty of breaks, and when it’s time to eat, choose a sit-down restaurant that will provide some relief after traveling in the car all day. Familiar restaurants work well for seniors -- in fact, during your entire trip, it’s a good idea to build familiar routines for seniors. They thrive on their routines, so while you may be visiting new and fun places, don’t forget to build in time for regular habits.
Seniors shouldn’t hesitate to travel, either on their own or with family and friends. The tips above should help them get packed for the trip. All that’s left to do is hang on and enjoy the ride!