The holidays bring families together from near and far. Sometimes, the travel involved can be hectic and stressful, particularly if you’re traveling with someone who requires additional care. At Bella Vista Health Center, when our residents travel away from our skilled nursing facility to spend time with their families, we do everything we can to help ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable trip. If you are traveling with an elderly companion or someone recovering from an illness or injury, take a look below at our top safety tips for holiday traveling.
#1. Book non-stop flights if possible
If you’ve ever traveled, then you know how much stress each leg of the trip can add to the overall experience. For seniors and anyone else who needs a little more time to get from point A to point B, dashing through the airport to catch the next flight is downright draining, even in a wheelchair. If you can, book non-stop flights and schedule plenty of downtime between each leg of the journey.
#2. Reserve special services in advance
Ask the airline about the availability of special seating assignments, early boarding, wheelchair service, or dietary accommodations to ensure the needs and comfort of your travel companion.
#3. Arrange for medication management
If you’re traveling with someone who needs assistance with medication, be sure to get clear, written instructions on exactly what’s needed, when, and how often. Keep a log, and designate a family member to help make sure your loved one stays on track with medication.
#4. Keep track of meals
Healthy nutrition is an important part of healing, maintaining energy levels, and achieving optimal health. If you’re traveling with someone who is healing from an injury or surgery, or has special dietary requirements, ask the staff of the skilled nursing facility about their meal plan. Take notes and write down what foods to avoid, what kinds of snacks to have on hand, and how best to ensure that your loved one gets the necessary nutrition while traveling.
#5. Rent additional equipment if necessary
If you plan to do some sightseeing while you’re traveling with someone who may be vulnerable to falls or accidents, you may want to consider renting a wheelchair or mobile scooter even if your loved one is perfectly mobile. A long day of walking at the zoo or other attraction may be too much. Providing additional supportive equipment can help keep them safe and comfortable.
#6. Plan for transportation
When planning for outings and other activities, be sure to consider that transportation needs may be somewhat altered by the addition of a wheelchair or other mobile device. In other words, if everyone crams into Uncle Eddie’s car to pick up Grandma at the airport, there may not be enough room in the trunk for her suitcases and her collapsible wheelchair.
#7. Keep activities to a minimum
Even if your family likes to keep it moving at all times, it’s important to remember that not everyone has the same stamina. Try keeping activities to a minimum, especially when you’re traveling with someone who needs more downtime or moves more slowly for whatever reason. Allow for ample time to rest, eat, and take it easy.
#8. Consider a cruise
Traveling by cruise is a great way to bring whole families together and provide a range of activities for various energy levels. A walk on the upper decks can give Grandma and Grandpa just the right amount of sun and activity while the teenage cousins tackle the 300-foot waterslide.
#9. Designate a companion
Even if family members split up for various activities, it’s important that everyone feels included and welcome. If anyone in the group requires additional assistance or extra downtime, be sure they always have someone to keep them company and help them in any way needed.
#10. Plan for emergencies
Of course, the hope is that everything will go smoothly on your travels and that your loved one will return home healthier and happier than when he or she left. But unfortunately, nothing is certain. When traveling with someone recovering from a stroke, for example, or someone who is prone to injuries or health problems, it’s important to have emergency phone numbers and a plan in place. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about what to do and who to call should anything unexpected arise.
The health, safety, and comfort of your loved one are our top priorities.
At Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego, we pride ourselves in providing every single resident with top-notch skilled nursing services to help them live their best lives. Special time spent with families is an important component of living a high quality of life. Of course we understand that travel is not possible for everyone, and we’re more than happy to welcome family members to come celebrate the holidays at our facility. Should you decide to travel with your resident, on the other hand, we’ll do all we can to help you ensure their comfort and safety. If you need more information, just give us a call.
Looking for a skilled nursing facility in San Diego? Come see the Bella Vista difference.