Tips for Traveling With the Elderly on Family Vacations

Traveling with the elderly requires a little extra planning and patience, but attitude is perhaps the single most important factor impacting how well a senior travels, and how well those travel with the individual enjoys the experience.

Tips for Traveling With the Elderly

Before embarking on a trip with a senior, there are a few things the caregiver should consider.

A good physical check-up and communication with the doctor about travel plans is extremely important. Make sure flu shots are up-to-date and any immunizations are administered in plenty of time, if traveling to a country that requires shots.

Print off a list of the patient’s medical issues and medications, so if needed, it’s in a format that medical professionals anywhere in the world can easily understand.

Such printed information can also be helpful when traveling through airport or other security installations. Hearing aides, artificial implants in hips and knees, and pacemakers are among the list of medical issues that may trip security alarms.

The medical history also addresses oxygen needs, which must be communicated to airline officials in advance. FAA regulations prohibit the use of personal oxygen units during flight although it may be checked below if it meets certain packaging and labeling requirements. Airlines provide oxygen equipment during the flight for a small service charge and most require a 48-hour notice.

When flying, arrange for an aisle seat for the elderly family member so he/she can easily get up and walk around. This holds true for car or train rides as well. The elderly are at increased risk for blood clots when sitting to long.

Discussing traveling styles in advance is important for any multi-generational travel, particularly with young children involved.

Schedule plenty of breaks and time out for snacks.

Get the senior to drink plenty of water.

Try to maintain meal times and sleep schedules.

Pack extra batteries for hearing aides and make sure they are turned to an appropriate volume.

Bring an extra pair of glasses.

Take plenty of prescription medication, packed in a carry-on bag for flying.

Check with airlines in advance regarding oxygen and wheelchair use.

Services for Elderly Travelers

The U.S. Department of Transportation has a toll-free hotline to assist air travelers with disabilities. The line is staffed from 7am to 11pm Eastern time, seven days a week. Call (800) 778-4838 (voice) or (800) 455-9880 (TTY).

Many theme parks and large attractions offer scooters and motorized wheelchairs on property. Some cities, such as Boston, where walking is encouraged to discover sites, also provide such services, including delivery to your hotel. Call the city’s convention and visitors bureau in advance to ask about such services.

Many state parks offer free or discounted admission to senior citizens, disabled veterans and anyone traveling in that car.

The National Park Service offers lifelong free admission through the Golden Access Passport for blind or permanently disabled citizens or U.S. residents over age 62. The pass also provides a 50 percent discount on federal use fees for facilities and services such as camping, boating and tours. There is a $10 processing fee to receive the pass, which may be purchased at any national park site.

According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 15 RV manufacturers offer special needs RVs outfitted with features that make it possible for people with mobility and health concerns to travel comfortably. Typical accessible RV modifications or accessories include wheelchair lifts or ramps, lower kitchen counter and cabinets, roll-in showers and brighter lighting.

Numerous tourism services, such as hot air ballooning, parasailing and river rafting all provide services for the elderly and those with mobility impairments. Check out the WheelChairsOnTheGo website for ideas and more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *