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Holiday Travel: Helping your Elderly Relatives

As it usually goes with the approaching holiday seasons, many of our family members may find themselves traveling to different cities and regions to meet and celebrate together. This undoubtedly will include a percentage of our elderly family members, and special precautions and measure should be taken to ensure that their travels are as safe and straightforward as possible.

If and when an elderly member of your family finds themselves in a situation where travel is necessary it is wholly appropriate to help them prepare for the clutter and confusion of holiday-time travel. This can be as simple as assisting them with packing and preparing them for an extended stay, or as far as outlining the details of airport travel and potentially involving a travel aid inside the airports.

To begin, create an outline of their travel procedure with them, involving them as much a possible – repetition of key facts and details is key for ensuring that there will be as little deviation from the plan a possible. Type up or write out instructions if you cannot be present for their flights or rides – allowing them something to refer back to can increase both comfort and clarity in these sometimes overwhelming situations.

If any medication is to be traveled with, make sure the full prescriptions are checked safely into luggage, while providing an easily accessible means of keeping daily medications in their carry-on. This can mean individually labeled or segmented containers approved by the TSA.

Now, your personal influence over their travel may end at the airport terminal, but that does not mean that services are not in place to assist them further than you are able. Contact the airline or airport services beforehand to request navigational or mobility services to assist your loved ones throughout the airport and to ensure they reach the proper gate or comfortably make it through security checkpoints. These situations can often be the most confusing and frustrating for the elderly – affording them services like these can truly lessen or even eliminate this altogether.

All in all, the prospect of our elderly family members traveling, alone or not, during the holiday season can seem daunting. However, with proper procedure, patience and planning, it can be made as safe and effortless as possible.

AccuCare, founded in 1994 by Jacqueline Phillips, RN, BSN, has a single mission to provide every client with the highest possible standard of private, home health care with a human touch. As a RN-owned and managed company, our family-inspired approach to care comes with expertise that enables us to perform medically skilled services for our clients. Jane Olsen, RN, AccuCare’s Director of Nursing/Director of Operations, has been an integral part of the company for more than 20 years. Jane and members of her nursing team make weekly visits to clients, as needed to assess their ongoing, general health. AccuCare’s priority is to ensure that our clients receive quality care with a human touch.