Traveling as an older adult with your family can be challenging and stressful. With some preparation, you can reduce your stress and have an enjoyable trip with your loved ones.
Talk it Through
Honest and open communication is important. Talking through your hopes, expectations, and worries about your upcoming trip can help relieve concerns. Now’s the time to ask questions or raise any concerns or special requests. For family members who might be planning the trip, it’s important to be patient and compassionate as you listen to your loved one as part of your planning.
Packing the right medication – and enough of it – is essential. Work with your doctor and family members to be sure you have all your medications together in advance, and that you have enough for your entire trip.
Bring a medication list, as well as the names and phone numbers of your pharmacy and doctors. Some chain pharmacies let you refill prescriptions at locations other than your local pharmacy if you’re traveling in the U.S. Make sure you have a back-up plan in case this type of remote refill is not an option.
Consider also making an appointment with your doctor to plan the trip and decide exactly what arrangements or medications you’ll need along the way. This is especially important if you are on oxygen, have limited mobility, multiple medications, or other complex medical concerns.
Many vacations and trips can include a lot of walking. Navigating airports, parking lots, and hotels can require additional time, especially if you have limited mobility or need to take breaks. Plan ahead by building in extra time. Call your airport and airline to see what help they can provide through security and the terminal.
Stumbles or falls can happen with added stress, unfamiliar terrain, and tiredness. Reduce your risk by using your assistive device, speaking up when you need to take a break, and knowing your limits. You might want to spend the day with your grandchildren, but walking around Disney World in 90° temperatures might not be the best idea. Talk with your family members in advance so that everyone on the trip can enjoy it – without putting your health at risk.
With some advanced planning and open conversations, your next trip is sure to be fun, safe, and a source of great memories for everyone.
This article was medically reviewed by Ann Wells, MD