Aging adults progressively lose their independence in one way or another and it can be very hard for them to accept the changes. It can be even more difficult when a parent is at risk of falling. But don't let that risk stop you from traveling with your loved one. Here are some tips to help a senior prone to falling on your next travel adventure.
Visit the Doctor Before Your Trip
Take your senior loved one to the doctor for a check up before you leave. By doing so, you will avoid any health surprises. You can ensure that you have proper medication refills, and the doctor can give you tips and special instructions, if needed.
Invest in a Portable Wheelchair or Walker
If your parent generally uses a wheelchair or walker to get around, you might be worried about dragging these things with you on your vacation. Luckily, there are portable, travel-friendly wheelchairs and walkers on the market that you can invest in. They can usually be folded up so that they fit in the trunk or in your larger luggage, and they are usually lighter so that you can carry them more easily.
Ask for a Handicapped-Accessible Hotel Room
When booking your hotel, ask for a handicapped-accessible room. These rooms are usually on the first floor and typically provide roll-in showers, grab bars in the bathroom, lowered light switches that can be reached from a wheelchair and more. Even if your elderly loved one is not restricted to a wheelchair, he or she is sure to be safer with all of the safety concerns that are addressed with these rooms.
Stay close to your loved one while he or she is out and about on the trip to help watch out for tripping hazards. If you're not able to do so, consider bringing along a health aide who travels. Do not leave your parent unattended. Not only are they in an unfamiliar place, but they are vulnerable to unknown obstacles around them.
Traveling can be stressful enough with your senior loved one. Make it a little easier by planning ahead. Plan ahead so that you can have the services available to accommodate the needs of your parent. For instance, a wheelchair upon arrival or a motorized cart to transport you from point A to point B. Map out your transportation routes and check to see if the tourist sites are senior friendly.
Make sure that you plan light days too. Instead of packing in as much as possible, plan to have slower days so that your senior isn't pushed too hard.
Remove any obstacles while on vacation that can cause falls. Some examples would be children's toys, flip flops, sharp protruding objects, etc. Basically, make sure your condo, apartment, etc. is free of obstructions.
Add Proper Lighting
Check the lighting before securing a condo, vacation home, or hotel. If possible, ask if old bulbs or dim lighting can be changed to new, fresh lighting. The idea is of your parents can see where they are going, then they are less likely to fall.
When you're traveling with a parent who is a fall risk, you'll need to have your hands free to help them. If you're juggling stacks of large bags, you might not be able to get to your parent when you need to. Instead, pack light so that you're able to juggle your bags and your parent. Make sure that your parent isn't overburdened by their own bags, too.
When you're traveling with a parent who is at risk for falls, it's important to take your time getting to your destination. Whether it's arriving at the airport early so that you have plenty of time to get through all the lines or setting a realistic schedule for your road trip that includes plenty of bathroom stops and time to get out and walk, leaving plenty of time for your excursion will decrease the odds that your parent will fall while on the trip.
Caring for a loved one can be difficult, but knowing they are in good hands is comforting. At Caring Senior Service we are always ready to help seniors and their families by providing professional advice and services. For more information on how to help seniors prevent falls, refer to our Fall Prevention Fact Sheet.