Travelling can be one of the best gifts you can give to the person you care for. You can both enjoy new sights, and experience an exciting change from the usual daily routine, but it can also be stressful for that same reason! Take a look at our top 10 caregiver tips to make your travelling experience with your loved one enjoyable and worry-free.
Consider hiring a professional carer
If your loved one requires a high level of care and you anticipate travel will be extremely difficult, then consider hiring a professional caregiver to join you on your trip. Helping Hands, a care provider in the UK, discuss in their blog how one of their caregivers recently accompanied a lady with cerebral palsy on a journey of a lifetime across Australia. Having this extra support may take some of the pressure off you.
Get a check-up and recommended vaccinations
A Place For Mom explain: “The all-important first step is making sure your loved one is cleared for travel by their primary care doctor, especially if you’re accommodating a health condition such as Alzheimer’s.” You’ll also need any vaccinations recommended for the country you’re visiting.
Choose an appropriate destination
Make sure that the method of travel and destination you’ve chosen are appropriate for your loved one’s abilities and limitations. You can get advice and recommendations on this from your loved ones GP or a professional care provider.
Book the most direct route
When travelling with someone who needs full time care, plan, reserve, and confirm your transport sooner rather than later. Make sure to book the most direct and shortest routes available, with the least amount of transfers and stopovers.
Request and reserve special accommodations in advance
On flights, request expedited boarding and seat reservations with extra legroom. If your loved one requires wheelchair assistance, then you should request this at each airport, connection, and arrival port. This is usually a free service and means that you’ll receive assistance from the check in counter, through security, to the gate and then onboard the aircraft. You should always request these services well in advance as the airline, train, or bus line has no obligation to make them available on check-in or while en route.
Get good quality travel insurance
Experts at SmarterTravel explain: “While travel insurance is important for anyone travelling, it truly is essential for older travellers or people with care needs who are more at risk of falling and hurting themselves, getting sick, or needing extra medication if their travel is interrupted or delayed.” This gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered if something goes wrong.
Carry important documents and medication with you
These documents should include emergency contact information; a list of current medications and doses; physician information, and details of any food allergies. You should also have your passport stored somewhere secure, and have your travel itinerary and insurance information readily available. Make sure your carry-on bag has everything that your loved one will need during the flight or any other mode of transport.
Think about your loved ones safety and security
Those requiring care can be particularly vulnerable at busy travel centres. Don’t give people the opportunity to steal from your loved one by storing all valuables securely on yourself. Make sure that your loved one is wearing an identification bracelet in case you become separated at any point. This is especially important for seniors or people with Alzheimer’s, who may wander off.
Participating in activities on holiday
Research each destination and activity carefully and find tour operators that can accommodate your loved ones needs. When taking part in tours or activities, make sure that your loved one is wearing comfortable shoes and clothing, and have any medication or other items that they may need, readily available.
Be realistic about the amount of activity and walking your loved one is capable of and allow plenty of time for rest between activities. Keep your plans flexible to accommodate how they are feeling each day. Most importantly – enjoy your exciting new travel adventure with your loved one!