Traveling for the Holidays – Eldercare Considerations

It’s that time of year again! The ‘pre-holiday rush’, when we’re all buzzing around getting plans in place for the holidays. Making lists, buying gifts, and making travel arrangements – who is going where, when, and how. Perhaps you have to travel across the country to stay with family, perhaps they’re coming to you this year, or maybe you’ve decided to ‘outsource’ Christmas and go on holiday somewhere! Whatever your travel plans, they can all suddenly become a new challenge if a senior loved one in your family requires special arrangements. The good news is, you don’t have to scrap your holiday travel plans. It may require a little more advance planning and a few phone calls, but your eldercare requirements can certainly be accommodated, wherever you’re headed.

  • Flying: Airlines cater for mobility issues, with priority seating and advanced boarding. Book your tickets with an agent to ensure the airline knows your requirements. This is especially important for long flights where medication becomes a factor.
  • Hotel: All hotels can accommodate mobility issues. These rooms are often not advertised properly on websites – so phone the hotel and book your room with a real person. Vocalise any issues or special requests, and they will certainly accommodate you. Promoting handicap accessible rooms is often a major oversight of the hotel industry, but they certainly exist!
    Call ahead to your hotel to ensure: Room is ground level; there are no stairs; someone is on hand to assist with luggage; there are fridges in the room for medications; the hotel is in proximity to shops/pharmacies; shower/bath in room is accessible.
  • Resorts/Cruises: You may not think of it, because it’s not exactly the imaging portrayed on their commercials, but resorts and cruiselines around the world cater largely to the senior population. Ok, maybe not Club Med, but most other resorts see their highest visitor demographics in the retired population. Again, book with an agent or through the resort directly to vocalise any concerns you have. They may not mention in any of their promotional material, but I can promise you that any resort or cruiseline wanting to stay in business is fully equipped to supply a comfortable stay for seniors with a range of health requirements.
    Call ahead to ask: What level of medical facilities are on hand; room is the most accessible (close to the dining room or pool deck); buffet dining can accommodate mobility issues; there is a shop/pharmacy on hand; the pool is handicap accessible; there are ‘gentle’ activities available.

Don’t cancel holiday fun just because of health issues – they can almost always be accommodated! Reserach your local travel agents to find out who specialises in senior needs, and who is willing to do the extra legwork to ensure you don’t have to.