It’s summertime, which means it’s the perfect time to travel and enjoy a nice vacation. However, traveling can come with hours of standing and walking and rapid changes in climate and temperature, which can be difficult for an elderly or disabled person. All the activity, stress, and changes can put stress on elderly and travelers with disabilities. However, with a great travel plan and a few helpful tips, summer travel can be emotionally and physically beneficial for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Travel Planning Tips to Remember
The most important thing you can do when you’re going to travel in the summer is to make sure you plan the trip well. Whether you’re be flying or traveling by car, it’s still important to plan ahead. A few travel planning tips to remember include:
- Check to ensure that any accommodations are disability or senior friendly. You can check with hotels or other accommodations ahead of time to find out about space and accessibility concerns.
- If you need supplemental oxygen and you’ll be flying, talk to the airline about their oxygen policy, since policies vary from airline to airline.
- Talk to your physician about any potential travel concerns.
- Ensure that you have senior-friendly transportation available where you plan to stay.
- Before booking tickets, check with the airline to find ways that you can make flying easier.
- Resting special seat assignments in rows with disabled travelers can help.
- Request special services that may be needed ahead of time, such as wheelchair services.
Mobility Solutions for All Seasons
The elderly and disabled should be able to travel and get around safely and easily. That’s why Sage carries a range of mobility solutions, including power chairs, wheelchair lifts and vehicle lifts.
Practical Tips for Packing
Packing correctly can also help when you’ll be traveling this summer. Helpful packing tips include:
- Pack as light as possible. You can roll clothing to fit more clothing into a small piece of luggage.
- Use rolling luggage.
- When flying, ensuring medications are packed in a one-quart freezer bag and placed into carry-on luggage where they can easily be accessed. Don’t pack medications into checked luggage.
- Avoid checking luggage when possible, since it may be difficult to get off a luggage carousel.
Dealing with Security Checkpoints
If you’ll be flying for your summer vacation, think about dealing with security checkpoints ahead of time. It’s often easier to get through TSA security if you’re in a wheelchair. A wheelchair can also keep you from overdoing it physically trying to walk through the airport.
Be aware of any medical conditions that may set off alarms, such as knee implants and hip replacements. To prevent delays, have a doctor’s statement about any implanted steel along with you.
Since you often have to remove your shoes when going through security, make sure you wear shoes that are easy to remove to make going through security smoother.
Dress Comfortably and Weather-Appropriate for Travel
Whether you’re traveling by car or plan, summer travel can be warm, and seniors are more susceptible to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. It’s important to make sure that you choose weather-appropriate clothing and that you dress comfortably for your trip. Loose, comfortable clothing not only lowers your risk of heat stroke, but also lowers the risk of high blood pressure. It can reduce the risk of blood clots when you’re standing or sitting for long periods of time as well. If you’ll be on a lengthy flight, you may even want to wear compression stockings to improve circulation in your lower legs.
Choosing comfortable shoes for travel is important too, especially if you’ll be doing any walking. Go with flats to prevent the risk of falling or accidentally spraining your ankle, particularly if you have any balance problems.
Take Along Water and Snacks
Traveling, particularly if you’ll be flying, can be dehydrating. Even though you’re pretty inactive while you’re on a plane, it’s still dehydrating when you’re flying at high altitudes. Unfortunately, the elderly have a greater risk of dehydration. It’s important to make sure you have water along with you if you’re flying so you can keep sipping throughout your flight. Hydrating while you travel by car and while you’re enjoying your vacation is also important.
You also need to take some healthy snacks along when you’ll be traveling. Energy bars, sliced fruit, and nuts are all great snacks. If you’ll be flying, sometimes you can get stuck on the runway or snacks may only be available for purchase on your flight. It can leave you with a long period of time between meals, so having snacks handy can keep blood sugar levels stable and you’ll have something to eat with medications if needed.
Stretch and Move Whenever Possible
One of the big risks for senior travelers and travelers with disabilities is deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot. It can cause death after or even during a long flight or trip because an individual didn’t move around often enough. If you’ll be on an airplane for hours, make sure you stand, stretch, wiggle, and move about whenever possible. If the seatbelt sign stays on and you can’t get up and move around, work on moving your legs, rolling your feet, and stretching your toes.
If you’re traveling in a car, make sure you stop every hour or two and get out to stretch and move around. Even though it will take a little bit more time to reach your travel destination, just taking a few minutes to move can greatly reduce your risk of a blood clot while traveling.
Maintaining Senior Care While Traveling
If you or your senior loved one requires daily care, it’s important to make sure that care can be provided while traveling. This means ensuring they have all medications, medical equipment, and medical devices needed while traveling. Some of the steps for maintaining senior care while traveling may include:
- Packing medications and ensuring there’s enough to cover the entire trip.
- Having copies of prescriptions along for the trip can also prove helpful.
- Bringing along medical devices and equipment that will be needed, such as oxygen or assistive devices.
- Discussing strategies for how to continue care with caregivers.
If you receive care at home, you may want to find out if your caregiver can travel with you. Home care providers can often help you prepare for traveling and may be able to travel with you to ensure you have the care you need while enjoying summer travel. To learn more about how we can help you enjoy traveling this summer, contact Sage Mobility by calling (610) 518-2221 or using the quote request form below.