Taking care of your elderly parent can present a lot of challenges.
One biggest challenge is traveling with them. This is especially daunting if you live in an urban city, such as New York City, with an elderly parent. Public transportation is limited for people with handicaps or inability to walk up and down stairs. The crowds alone in a subway station can be overwhelming for an elderly person. At Alvita Care, we are often asked questions such as “how should I travel with my elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment?” or “I want to take my aging mother to my son’s graduation, how is this possible?”
The answer is that there is always a way to have your parents attend family activities and special events! Not only will these activities add purpose and joy to your elderly parent’s life, it will also create life-long memories for the entire family.
To have a successful trip with an elderly loved one the key to success is to pre-plan! Nothing compares to a well thought out plan that is equipped with options should a change need to be made and that will help your elderly parent not to feel too dependent and a burden on you for the travel. Senior adults do not move quickly, so it is critical that you build extra time into your trip so no one feels rushed. At Alvita Care, we suggest to add a full hour or even 90 minutes to the time you estimate that you will need to travel with your elderly loved one so you are ready for any possible delay that may occur.
Details to Consider:
Oxygen: If your elderly parent uses oxygen you need to think about how long a tank can last and if you can carry multiple, back-up oxygen tanks. Newer equipment allows senior adults who require oxygen to travel with portable, non-pressurized devices that deliver oxygen and run on electricity or battery. We suggest calling the venue you are traveling to in advance and alerting them that your elderly parent uses an oxygen tank.
Clothing: Special care and consideration should be taken when deciding what outfit your elderly mom or dad should wear. Wearing multiple layers of clothes will give your elderly parent the option to adjust to different temperatures. Also, make sure that your elderly parent wears clothes that are loose fitting because they will be more comfortable.
Continence: When traveling and attending events with your elderly parents it is important to fully understand what their continence issues are: How many times a day does your loved one go to the bathroom? Does your elderly parent need to wear adult diapers or pull ups? Are there catheter requirements? Scheduling bathroom breaks into the travel or activity for your elderly parent will help avoid accidents and complications.
When traveling with your elderly parent you need to prepare yourself emotionally to be flexible and take situations easily. Traveling and experiencing life with an elderly parent can be fun and rewarding, especially if you keep the right frame of mind!