Summer Vacation With Elderly, Disabled Family Members Means Additional Planning, Considerations for Caregivers - The CareGiver Partnership offers tips for traveling with an elderly or disabled love one.
The summer travel season is approaching, and with it, families are asking where to go? How to get there? What to do? The CareGiver Partnership®, a national retailer of home health products, offers resources to help summer travelers address caregiving needs before hitting the road.
"Caregiving and family travel both can be highly rewarding, but also have the potential to be stressful," says Lynn Wilson, Founder of The CareGiver Partnership. "Whether you're planning to vacation with a loved one who needs special care - or looking for peace of mind while a loved one stays home - the key words for success are plan, plan, and plan."
When planning a trip that includes an elderly, ill or disabled family member, obtaining medical clearances from a physician ensures the trip is realistic and appropriate for all family members. Physicians are also able to obtain extra medication; provide a list of all medications; access medical records; and provide emergency contact information.
Another important consideration is the mode of transportation. Most airlines offer priority boarding, as well as onboard wheelchair availability. Amtrak provides accommodations for accessible space, wheelchair usage and oxygen equipment. When driving, consider the possibility of a rental vehicle with more space and accessible features.
"No matter the mode of transportation, there are many products available to make travel more comfortable," says Wilson. "Support stockings, for example, are simple, inexpensive, and help prevent leg pain and numbness."
Once determinations are made about how to travel, consider how vacation time will be spent. Planning a slower pace and designating certain times for rest can reduce stress for the whole family. In addition, many hotels and resorts offer a wide range of activities so people of all ages and abilities can have a great time together - and separately - at one location.
When a caregiver needs a vacation and an elderly or disabled family member stays home, respite care is one option to consider. Many retirement homes offer respite care or can arrange daily home visits to aid in washing, dressing, and meal preparation. Enlisting other family members to help when possible provides the benefit of familiarity for the person receiving care.
As caregivers consider travel plans, Wilson offers the following tips:
Consider whether you need and can afford professional assistance from a travel agent, an aide who can travel with you, or a skilled respite worker.
When flying, allow for longer connection times and arrange for cart transportation. When driving, allow for more frequent stops for eating, stretching, and using the restroom.
Be aware of medication side effects, such as susceptibility to the sun or interaction with certain foods. Traveling typically means exposure to different climates and cuisines.
Work with your hotel or resort to request an appropriate room. Depending on your needs, this might mean a first floor room, adjoining rooms, wheelchair or stroller accessibility, or proximity to an elevator.
Involve all family members in selecting activities and destinations. Giving each person a 'top pick' helps everyone feel part of the process and ensures a good range of activities.
Regardless of whether your loved one travels or stays home, supplies should be stocked and plentiful. The CareGiver Partnership's automatically scheduled delivery service, Never Run Out(SM), ensures needed products are always on hand.
The CareGiver Partnership offers the largest online resource directory at www.caregiverpartnership.com/ResourceCategories.aspx. Users can search by topic; browse for products that facilitate travel; and consult with a Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic-trained Nutritionist. With the right information, products, and resources, caregivers can ensure a safe, enjoyable vacation experience for the whole family.
The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct to consumer retailer and resource providing support, convenience, and old-fashioned customer service to those caring for a loved one, and offers more than 2,600 home care products. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn and Tom Wilson of Neenah, Wisconsin. Visit www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more.
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