Planning a vacation with your senior loved ones has been shown to reduce stress and give them a major boost to their mental and emotional health. Whether the purpose of the trip is to visit friends or family or experience the sights and sounds of a new place, your senior loved ones will be excited about the new adventure that awaits them. Going on a road trip with your senior parents is a great opportunity to bond and build memories together through new experiences.
When planning for a road trip with your senior parents, it is important to consider their needs while in the car as well as when you reach your destination. Depending on the distance to your destination, you may spend hours in the car together. You must consider the comfort and safety of your senior loved ones while in the car and ensure that you pack the things they need for a safe and comfortable trip.
Long road trips are already a challenge, and many seniors have special needs that must be accommodated to ensure their health and safety. In this guide, we discuss what you should bring with you on your road trip with your senior loved ones, as well as other considerations for an enjoyable vacation.
What to Bring in the Car
As mentioned above, you will likely be spending a lot of time in the car with your senior loved ones. Spending hours sitting in a car can be difficult for seniors, especially if they have mobility issues or chronic conditions that can affect their comfort. To ensure the comfort and safety of your senior loved ones while in the car, make sure you bring the following items:
1. Layers of Clothing
Consider the time of year that you are traveling. Your senior loved ones will need clothing to stay comfortable in the weather you will encounter on your drive and at your destination, as well as in the car.
If you are traveling during the colder seasons, make sure your senior loved ones bring enough layers to stay warm while outside and encourage them to take off layers, such as a heavy coat, to avoid getting too warm in the heated car. If traveling during the summer, make sure your loved ones have light, breathable clothing for the warm weather, and encourage them to bring a sweater or light jacket in case they get cold in the air-conditioned car.
2. Pillow and Blanket
Over the course of a long drive, your senior loved ones may get tired and choose to nap in the car. Make sure you pack pillows and blankets that your loved ones can use to nap comfortably. Napping in the car will help ensure that they have more energy to enjoy themselves when you reach your destination. You should also bring small pillows that your senior loved ones can use for lumbar support to avoid aching backs.
3. Personal Medical Needs
You must consider the personal medical needs of your senior loved ones to ensure that you bring everything needed for their health and well-being. Make sure you bring the following to accommodate their medical needs:
- Medications: If your loved ones take medication, it is important for them to stay on schedule and continue to take the required dosage at the right time. Make sure their prescriptions are filled before leaving so they do not run out on the trip. If you are traveling to a new time zone, accommodate for the time change so that they continue to take their medications at the right time.
- First aid kit: You should always have a first aid kit in your car, especially for long drives as you never know what could happen. Pack a first aid kit that includes bandages, aspirin, tissues, antibiotic ointments, antibacterial wipes, and a cold compress. Also consider any special needs your loved ones may have that require additional items.
- Mobility equipment: If your senior loved ones have limited mobility and require equipment such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to get around, make sure you bring these items. For equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, and electric wheelchairs, you may need to put some extra planning into packing the car to leave room for this equipment.
4. Handicapped Parking Placard
If your senior loved ones have a handicapped parking placard in their car, make sure to bring it with you on your trip. This will allow you to park in handicapped parking spaces anywhere you go, which will make the places you visit much more accessible to your loved ones.
5. Food and Drink
It is important for you and your senior loved ones to maintain your regular meal schedules and ensure that you stay hydrated during your trip. If the meal schedule for your senior loved ones is thrown off, they may experience hunger pangs and dehydration.
Pack high-nutrition, nonperishable snacks to try and maintain your loved one’s meal schedule as much as possible. You should also bring plenty of water so that your loved ones can stay hydrated on the drive.
Road trips provide an excellent opportunity for you to engage in good conversations with your elderly parents. However, there will come a time when those in the car will want some quiet time to themselves. Bringing forms of personal entertainment allows your senior loved ones to have some time to themselves and engaging in these activities can help the trip go faster.
Encourage your senior loved ones to bring along their favorite books, tools for small crafts they can do in the car such as knitting, coloring books or sketch pads, and crossword puzzles. You can also bring a tablet that can be used to watch movies and TV shows or listen to music.
Other Considerations for Your Road Trip
Bringing the items your loved ones need to be safe and comfortable on the long drive is important for your trip. You should also consider the following before you begin your journey to ensure the safety and well-being of your senior loved ones:
- Health: Before embarking on a road trip with your senior loved ones, consider their health. It is a good idea to visit the doctor for a checkup to ensure that they are in good enough condition to handle the trip. This is especially important for seniors who have an illness or chronic condition. Their doctor will assess their condition and make recommendations to help them stay safe and healthy on the trip. If they are not in good enough health to handle the trip, consider postponing it to a later date.
- Comfort: Sitting in the car for hours during a long drive can get uncomfortable. As mentioned in the above section, bringing items like blankets, pillows, and warm clothing can help ensure the comfort of your senior loved ones in the car. You should also consider planning regular stops along the way so your loved ones can use the restroom.
- Safety: It is important to consider the safety of your senior loved ones in the car. Adjust the seat and seatbelt where your loved ones will be sitting so that they will be comfortable while safely buckled in. If your loved ones are bothered by the constraint of the seatbelt, use a wrap-around seatbelt pad for added comfort. You should also consider seating your elderly loved ones in the back seat as air bags can be dangerous for the elderly when deployed.
Elderly Care from Assisting Hands
Taking a road trip with your senior loved ones can be a fun and exciting adventure and a great opportunity to bond and create new memories. You can help ensure that your road trip goes off without a hitch by considering the health and safety needs of your senior loved ones and packing the items needed for their comfort and well-being. Your loved ones will appreciate spending quality time together on your trip as well as the steps you take to ensure that they have the best possible experience.
Another way you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your senior loved ones is to work with Assisting Hands Home Care to provide elderly care services. Our home caregivers can step in and fill any care gaps that might exist in the care that you are able to give them, whether that means coming to their home once or twice a week to help them handle specific tasks such as bathing or grocery shopping or being with them every day to accommodate their personal care needs. You can also expect our caregivers to be a companion to your loved one while providing them with excellent care.
The highly personalized services of our elderly home care help ensure that your senior loved ones get the care, support, assistance, and encouragement to accommodate their care needs while helping them pursue fulfillment and independence in their daily lives as they age in place. If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Dallas, TX | Coppell, TX | Highland Park, TX | Richardson, TX or University Park, TX, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands Home Care today at (214) 760-6944.