Treating your elderly parents with a well-deserved vacation is one of the sweetest gestures you could do for them. Visiting and exploring new places with them is more than enough to express your appreciation. On the other hand, the ongoing pandemic compels everyone to be more thoughtful of the new normal standards of caring for elderly parents.
From observing social distancing at all times to following quarantine protocols to avoiding high-risk areas, it might be overwhelming to iron out the details of your itinerary.
How can you pull off an enjoyable and fool-proof vacation with your parents? Here are x helpful tips to keep in mind:
1. Choose a destination
Agree on a destination before booking your ticket. This will help save more time and trouble later on. At the moment, some countries have put up their borders from tourists to help curb the spread of COVID-19’s more dangerous variants.
Do your research and check on the restrictions and requirements of your desired destination. Complete any mandatory forms or documents and make sure you fill everything out completely and correctly.
Build plans and activities for your trip around your target location. By doing so, you get to plan your trip from start to finish and prepare a plan B for any possible setbacks or unexpected changes.
2. Get vaccinated
Get vaccinated for COVID-19. Do the same with your parents. The past year has been quite a roller coaster, and 2021 has not been any brighter or bearable. It is understandable to want to take a break. Just remember this: In these trying times, everyone bears the responsibility of keeping each other safe from the virus, especially the vulnerable sectors of society. (That includes your parents!). Also, getting vaccinated is the least you can do for the locals of the city or country you plan to visit.
3. Scour your options for accommodation
They say that travel is the best form of self-care. In reality, it becomes the opposite if you fail to score a hotel, Airbnb, or rentals that suit your needs.
Determine which type of accommodation would work best for your parents’ needs. Is there ease of access for transportation, pharmacies, or hospitals? What about their amenities? Is it senior citizen-friendly? Are there elevators and do they provide wheelchair rentals? Are there parks and tourist attractions nearby to reduce travel time for your mom and dad? Better yet, book dates months in advance. Take note of choices for hotels or lodging just in case.
Do you have relatives living overseas? If so, then that would be a perk since you can contact them directly and either request for them to provide lodging during your travel, or help you get great deals on any hotels in the area.
4. Don’t forget their medications (if any)
The best way to prevent or control a medical emergency is to be prepared. For individuals whose parents are on any type of medication, it is best to bring their prescriptions, medicine (preferably in its original container), doctor or physician’s contact information, and even documents on their medical history.
5. Allot “breathing space” in-between planned activities
Since you are planning for a trip with your parents, you don’t have to make your itinerary jam-packed with strenuous activities or outdoor trips. As your mom and dad grow older, they will likely appreciate activities that are both enjoyable and relaxing. Even activities as simple as visiting the zoo, checking out art exhibitions in local museums, bird watching, outdoor theatre, gardening, fishing, and going on a picnic are stimulating and fun enough for them.
For travelers whose parents are suffering from dementia, give them time to adjust to the new setting. Arrange for them to have their solo room, and be extra patient with them.
6. Secure travel insurance
Contact your parents’ insurance providers and inquire about coverage or policies for traveling. Travel insurance is essential because it acts as a safety net for any injuries, or health-related emergencies that your parents might encounter during your trip. Be keen on the policies and limitations of your parents’ insurance so you can purchase one or arrange for a substitute countermeasure.
7. Hire a caregiver
Speaking of substitute countermeasures, perhaps you can consider hiring a caregiver for your parents during your trip. Ask close friends and family for recommendations, or find agencies that offer caregiving services to the elderly. The only disadvantage is you have to include expenses for the caregiver’s travel, dining, and lodging in your budget.
8. Pack extra
By extra, it pertains to clothing, medication, and even cash. For some, you may need to bring an extra pack of adult diapers, washcloth, pain reliever, or aspirin. It might be heavier to carry, but what matters is you can resolve any inconvenience as quickly. Bring your parents’ favorite snacks. Carry doctor-approved goodies and refreshments.
9. Prioritize health checks and rest
Set up alarms or a specific time for your parents if they are taking special medication. Monitor their blood sugar, cholesterol intake, and heart rate periodically if needed. As mentioned, the activities need not be adrenaline-inducing (unless your parents are perfectly healthy and in good shape despite their age). Give them the chance to take a rest. Let them nap and see to it that they catch their zzz’s early so they can recharge for the remainder of your trip.
10. Take tons of photos!
Admit it—spending quality time with your parents is quite hard to come by. Relish every minute you spend with them on your trip. Preserve your lovely memories by taking endless photos with them. You can also vlog about your adventures. Make sure to save and backup all the photos and videos. Once you get home, print these beautiful photos and create an album dedicated to your foray and send it as a gift to your parents.
Travel safely, but more importantly, have fun!