People travel long-distance for all sorts of reasons. It can be for a new job in another state or country, to get away from town and have a relaxing weekend, or to visit family who lives far away. Seniors are no different in having many possible reasons for needing to travel a long distance, but they also often live with medical conditions or physical impairments that make it challenging to travel as they did in their youth.
Proper planning and preparation are essential for ensuring a smooth trip without complications during transit. If you are uncertain about how to help your loved one plan for an upcoming trip—or any other long-distance travel plans—here are a few suggestions to get you started and make sure they have a comfortable and safe experience as they travel.
Prepare & Organize Medication
Whether traveling for pleasure or necessity, seniors should keep enough medication to last at least a few days, if not a week. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly, so it is essential to keep any critical medication close at hand and readily accessible. This is especially critical in the case of air travel, as anything packed away in the checked baggage will remain inaccessible for the duration of the flight. Always prepare for an emergency, even if the odds of one happening are low.
While it may be tempting to cram as many activities or appointments as possible, you have to be realistic about your loved one’s overall health needs when preparing to travel. Before you make any final arrangements, consider checking whether the destination has hospitals or facilities nearby that are easily accessible in the case of an emergency.
If traveling for pleasure, it may be best to refrain from activities that are physically rigorous or involve trekking out to a location that is hard for first responders to reach. Should something happen, knowing your options beforehand can make a difference.
Consult With a Medical Professional Beforehand
Before departing on any major trip, seniors should get a medical check-up, especially if they are already living with medical conditions or physical impairments. This is especially true for those living with coronary heart disease, hypertension, or any chronic condition or if they have recently undergone surgery. Should there be any potential complications, a professional can determine whether it is safe for them to travel or give suggestions for signs to watch for when traveling.
For some seniors, a ramp or handrails may be necessary for entering and exiting facilities and lodging. If your loved one is in a wheelchair or needs handrails to safely climb stairs, then you should research whether the facilities have adequate accommodations for seniors with physical disabilities. It would be a nightmare for them to arrive at their destination only to find that they cannot enter safely.
Consider Transportation Means
When traveling by air, be sure to contact the airline or airport if you have any concerns for your loved one during transit: they can inform you of any procedures or accommodations they have prepared. When traveling by car, you have a few more options available to you beyond your vehicle or public transportation.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) exists to provide transportation services for patients and seniors with medical conditions or physical impairments. Drivers have training and certification for any medical needs, and many receive training in elderly patient sensitivity.
With vehicles equipped to accommodate a variety of patients and medical needs, this may be an ideal option if your loved one has a condition or impairment that would make it challenging to travel in standard vehicles and public transportation.
Stellar Transport offers NEMT service for patients and seniors with medical conditions or physical impairments. If your loved ones require medical care or attention during transit, contact Stellar Transport to schedule a ride so that your loved one reaches their destination safely and comfortably.