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Traveling with a Frail Loved One

By , 4:41 pm on

It’s the season of family reunions, weddings and summer holidays. Many people want to travel to these events and reconnect with family.  We are often asked questions like these:

  • Should I take my [frail] parent with me? She has mobility issues and is easily upset.
  • Should I enlist friends and family to watch after my parents while I am out of town?
  • If I bring Mom along, how will she adapt to being away from familiar surroundings?

Our advice always begins with three key words: Options and Backup Plans.

First, check with your loved one’s doctor to determine whether they are well enough to travel.  Consider how you will travel, and calculate additions to travel time which will allow your senior traveler adequate rest and accommodate their pace, if they will be walking with a walker.  Be sure to secure copies of prescriptions and medical records to take along with you, incase medication is lost or spoiled during travel or an emergency should arise.  Locate hospitals or care centers on you route.  Check with your airline about special boarding and seating arrangements.  Plan for alternative flights and hotels, as well as vehicles to accommodate wheel chairs, if necessary.  Bring snacks and other activities for your loved one, especially in the case of cognitive impairment. Maintain routine meal times as much as possible to reduce agitation. Plan for extra rest periods when dementia is present.

Second, if you decide staying at home is best for your loved one, here are options to consider:

1. Ask a friend or family member who is already helping to care for your parent to stand in for you while you are away.

2. Use a professional caregiver to care for your parent and have their supervising Care Manager give you regular reports while you are away.  Care Managers often work with out-of-town family members and will understand your concerns and the type of information you require.

Third, you and your parent may decide the best thing to do is to proceed on the trip with extra help.  Our professional caregivers are available to travel with families to continue providing the care a senior needs.  Taking a caregiver along can provide an extra pair of hands to help and give you someone you trust to stay with your loved one if you choose to go on an outing during the trip.

When your aging parent or loved one needs home care in Lincoln or Omaha, call Home Care Assistance, we can be reached at (402) 261-5158, Lincoln, or 402-763-9140, Omaha.