Travel might just be one of the best gifts you can give your elderly mom or dad. The trip can be almost anything: it can be a visit to other family members, particularly their grandkids and great-grandkids, a ride aboard a cruise ship, an adventure to an exotic destination, or even just a return to their home from long ago. As long as it is a change of scenery from their elderly care service in Chicago and other cities, your parents are sure to appreciate it.
Traveling can be a very enriching experience for almost anyone at any age. Taking a vacation with your elderly parents can be a great way for all of you to create new and wonderful memories together. Traveling with seniors, however, can also come with their own unique challenges whether you plan on accompanying your parents or if they can maintain some independence and take the trip solo. Either way, here are three tips that can help you when traveling with your elderly parents.
Plan ahead and research
Planning, reserving, and confirming your travel and accommodations should be accomplished sooner rather than later whether you plan on traveling together with your parent or going solo. Look for bookings with your preferred travel methods whether it is through airlines, railways, buses, or cruise lines as soon as your target destination is resolved with respective dates.
Should you choose land or air transportation methods, choose for the shortest and most direct travel times. If you choose an airline that offers it, enroll your parents in a no-cost frequent flier program for each. This way, you can access the lowest fares available and even possible benefits at the airport and aboard the flight. You can also take advantage of this perk and request for special services.
You should also be aware that many discounts for senior fares are now gone except for a few airlines and railways even though they were once very common. You can also try and find other special offers for seniors online.
Reserve and request special services
If possible, request a seat assignment in the rows that are designated for elderly or disabled travelers. More importantly, make a request for cost-free wheelchair services at every airport you come from, connect at, and arrive in. It is also advised that you use the reservation system for any dietary needs if your choice of transportation offers a meal service.
The airline, bus, or train has no obligation to make all of these accommodations available for you during check-in or while en route. Be sure that you make and confirm all of your requests at the time of reservation, otherwise, you are going to do all of these things yourself.
Prepare your documentation
Many airport security officers accept government passports as the highest level of identification, so if you or your parent do not already have a passport, consider applying months before you even plan to travel.
You should also request statements of medical conditions and copies of prescriptions from your parents’ physician and medical treatment center. Make at least four sets of copies of you and your parents’ driver’s license, passport, insurance cards, physician statements and prescriptions, boarding pass if it is secured in advance online, travel tickets, and itinerary.
One complete set of these documents is placed in the carry-on bag of your parents, another in their check-in luggage, one set is left at home, and the last one is forwarded to family or accommodation destination.
Make sure that all of you have a cell phone or at least a telephone calling card so you can maintain contact. If you are going to provide your parents with a cell phone, make sure that it comes loaded with plenty of minutes and program your own telephone number first as an emergency contact.
Go out there and travel with your mom and dad. You might be surprised when it turns out to be one of the best experiences of your life.
While it is true that they need to continue to stay in an elderly care service in Chicago, the travel and destination will provide them with freedom and an escape because of the new environment and setting.