Traveling With Seniors: Health Tips
The holidays are arrived, which means family reunions and gift-giving plenty for many families across the United States. While the holidays are a wonderful time for seniors to reconnect with family, exercise habits are sometimes disturbed by shopping trips, and rich holiday meals replace key dietary needs. Throw in travel concerns, flu season, and COVID-19, and it’s easy to see why some seniors suffer over the holidays.
According to a recent survey, the following are some of the most challenging problems for seniors over the Christmas season:
- Traveling Alone
- Disrupted Routine
- Missed Medications
- Unhealthy Diet
- Time Spent Sedentary
- Too Much Activity
As a senior care business, adult parents and family caregivers frequently approached us with queries about how to keep their seniors safe and well throughout the holidays. Here are a few bits of advice you can provide to your clients as the holiday approaches:
Holiday Travel Safety
While seeing loved ones during the holidays is usually a source of joy, traveling can be difficult for seniors. It is recommended that your elderly client see their doctor before you take them on the trip. A senior’s doctor can clear them for travel, provide stress-reduction recommendations, and recommend drugs to keep them healthy.
They can also advise on how to travel with drugs and when to take them throughout the holidays. If the doctor recommends medicine expressly for travel, have your senior or their family double-check to ensure there are no unwanted adverse effects with other medications.
Finally, make sure the senior has adequate time to recover after traveling. Traveling can exhaust for anybody, but especially for seniors. Remember, an elderly relative can wish to relax upon arrival, whether they travel by car, rail, or airline. Ensure that elders take sleep or rest before participating in further activities.
Here are a few additional simple suggestions to consider for your elderly clients or their loved ones:
- Request enough medicine to last the duration of your absence. Consult with your doctor about how time zones can alter medication schedules.
- Bring copies of important papers, such as health insurance and emergency contact information.
- Give loved ones copies of your vacation plans.
- Carry medications and essential supplies with you on the aircraft or in your car in case of an emergency or a change in plans.
- If required, wear a medical ID.
- To avoid germs, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands.
- Request a guide or wheelchair to assist elders in safely navigating airports.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Changes to Routine
This concept is especially important for seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; however, any older adult can also benefit.
Preparation might be the difference between quiet moments and challenging behaviors for a senior with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Share your plans for Christmas gatherings with loved ones a few weeks in advance.
Discuss what they may expect and who else will be present. Use photos to assist students in identifying the faces they may encounter. If your elderly client has special dietary requirements, recommend that family caregivers prepare such meals.
Here are a few more quick tips to keep seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia involved in the holidays:
- Provide seasonal activities such as decorating, crafts, and gift wrapping.
- Make healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods.
- Encourage family members to inquire about the elders’ customs and recollections.
- Encourage family members to assist elders by listening, sympathizing, and reminding them of their beliefs or ideals.
- Encourage social interaction, even if it’s through technology like Zoom.
Keeping Homes Safe
If an older relative leaves their home to celebrate at another location, advise their family to double-check the residence for accessibility and safety. Remind your clients to look for slipping risks in their homes. Also, elders should sleep on the first floor of their house for better access to the kitchen and bathroom. Nightlights are usually an excellent idea to avoid stumbling in the dark.
Here are a few additional easy ideas for keeping your house secure over the holidays:
- Throw rugs should be removed. These may be beautiful, but they frequently lack a rubberized backing to provide traction on the floor.
- Clear the accumulated debris. Newspapers, soiled clothing, and shoes are all examples of this.
- Make the atmosphere more open. This will be simpler if the senior does not have mobility concerns and does not require a wheelchair. To facilitate access in the latter instance, entrances should be at least 32″ wide. Consider any tight corners before or after a doorway. Access can be restricted, and mobility may be impossible.
- Avoid stretching extension cords across the floor.
- Encourage seniors to wear non-slip footwear when inside.
Happy Holidays from Always Best Care
We wish you a wonderful Christmas season, whichever you choose to celebrate, from our family to yours. We look forward in helping you on your path to even greater success in 2023.