Welcome Wisdom

Travel Wisely Through the Holidays

by Ginger McMurchie, Elder Care Management Owner & Care Manager

Many families across the United States have already made their travel plans for the holidays. Thanksgiving celebrations are behind us and now we are anticipating a possible trip the last week of December. If you are traveling with aging parents, we would like to provide some helpful tips to get you to your destination safely.
Start your planning early. Traveling by plane requires purchasing tickets well in advance these days in order to get a lower fare. Many airlines still offer seat assignments and will make accommodations for those who have some form of disability. Be sure to check when booking flights. Ask for Skycap service if you need it. The trek through airports can be arduous and long and having a wheelchair take you to the gate can be a lifesaver. Before you get to the gate however, you will need to pass through TSA. It seems nowadays, I never know if I will sail through or be snagged by a forgotten item in a bag or a piece of jewelry that I am wearing. Think ahead- do you or your loved one have any metal in your body? Is there a concern about standing safely while going through the scanner? Do you require extra time and assistance getting through TSA?
A part of good planning will also demand that you have appropriate forms of identification while going through the airport screening. You will be asked for ID at the ticket counter while checking your bags and again going through TSA screening. Be aware that in October of 2020, TSA will be requiring REAL ID and or a passport or some other form of ID. Check with your local DMV to make sure you are up to date.
Packing for many has become an art form. Items can be condensed in plastic bags to save on space and many other helpful tips are available on the internet. Knowing that luggage can arrive long after you do, be sure to pack all medications and essentials in your carry on. Place medications in a zip lock bag along with prescriptions and any other vital medical information. Keep those in your possession throughout your travels.
Don’t rely on the airlines to feed you a meal. Many smart travelers bring a ready-to-eat breakfast or lunch with them along with snacks for the trip. Food on most airlines has been reduced to a bag of pretzels and a soda. You may want to bring an empty water bottle as airports now have water stations to fill them once you are beyond the TSA checkpoint. Hydration is a must while traveling along with watching consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Once in the air, move around once the captain has told you it is safe to do so. Wear compression socks if indicated by your medical history and you are on a long flight. Bring a sweater or sweatshirt to wear as the temps are kept cool and a neck pillow if it suits you.
If you decide that traveling by car is the preferred means of travel- stop frequently. Be sure to get out of the car every 1 to 2 hours to stretch your legs and use the facilities. The same mantra applies while in a car that good hydration and movement will make for a better trip all around.
You have arrived at your destination… Congratulations!  Now do some reconnaissance work in your home away from home. Is the path to the bathroom well lit? Are there any throw rugs or other obstacles in your way? Are you safe in the bathroom? All hotels have ADA compliant rooms that will have grab bars and shower seats- request one when you are booking your room.
Foods change over the holidays and so can your stomach. Rich foods combined with a change in routine can cause both bowel and bladder issues. Try to keep your diet as close to normal as possible, get as much exercise as you can, avoid excess alcohol consumption and get plenty of sleep. Your body and mind will thank you.
Lastly, enjoy your time away. Time with family and loved ones is precious. Remember to pace yourself with food, fun, and activity. Take that nap if you need to. Have a daily quiet time to rest and recover and revel in the moments of joy that are presented to you every day.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Elder Care Management!
Categories: Travel, Welcome Wisdom