It's that time of year again when families plan to celebrate holidays together. For the older members, it can be an especially happy time when they see all the generations. But if being part of the celebration means traveling out of town, whether by car, plane, or train, getting there may not be fun.
Here are some tips that will help you prepare for the travel experience, and make it as easy as possible on everyone.
1. Plan the trip in advance and consult the health professional. Many older people have health issues that may make travel by plane difficult, so ask the doctor if there are any special precautions to take.
2. Take along an adequate supply of medications for the entire time away, plus some extra to cover unexpected delays or extensions.
3. If traveling by air, phone the TSA at 1-866-289-9673 or visit the website for information on airport screening of passengers with disabilities or medical conditions. The web site is: http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm
4. Allow for frequent rest stops if the trip is longer than a couple of hours. This gives everyone a chance to move about, visit the bathroom, and renew the trip refreshed.
5. Unfamiliar surroundings can be confusing, especially if a person's hearing and vision are diminished. Take along extra nightlights to help your loved one at night.
6. Pack for a variety of temperatures, even if you are sure what the weather will be. Younger family members may not realize how sensitive older people can be to cold, so include sweaters and light jackets that can be worn in the house. If the person has a favorite afghan or throw, pack that as well for extra comfort.
7. Do not forget the camera! Family gatherings are a time for making memories, and photographs will help your loved one remember the people and experiences.