Essential Caregiving Tips for Winter Holiday Travel
Thoughtful planning is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Here's a guide to help you navigate winter holiday travel with your loved one.
Pack Medications Thoughtfully:
· Bring an ample supply of medication. Pack extra days’ worth in case of unexpected circumstances, such as being unable to drive or fly home on your intended day of departure due to poor weather.
· If flying, keep medications in your carry-on for accessibility. Follow TSA guidelines for carrying liquid medications, especially if they exceed the standard limit.
Consult with Your Loved One’s Doctor:
· If you have any concerns about your loved one’s health or ability to travel, schedule a checkup with their doctor ahead of the trip. Inform your doctor about existing medical conditions and medications.
· Many people with family overseas travel to their birth country during the holidays. While this can be a great opportunity for your loved one to reconnect with family and friends, it’s also important to keep up-to-date on international vaccination requirements, and to be sure that you know what to do if your loved one has a medical event overseas. A conversation with your doctor can better help you plan for international travel.
· Try to avoid peak travel times when possible to reduce stress for both you and your loved one. This is especially important if your loved one has dementia or an intellectual or developmental disability.
· Opt for travel times when your loved one is usually more alert and comfortable.
· Have a contingency plan for your holidays in place if your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled, weather conditions don’t allow for a safe drive, or your loved one’s health does not allow for travel.
Plan for Comfort:
· Bring items that enhance your loved one’s comfort, such as a travel pillow and blanket.
· Dress your loved one in layers to accommodate temperature changes during travel.
· If your travel involves going to the airport, choose comfortable slip-on shoes for easy security checks. If you’ll be driving, make sure your loved one has sturdy shoes that can handle the winter weather if they need to leave the vehicle.
· Whether you’re staying with family or at a hotel, make sure the location is accessible to your loved one and their health requirements. Keep in mind ease of entry, bathroom safety, and distance from local health services. For hotels, you can request a handicap-accessible room if your loved one needs extra support.
Stay Hydrated and Nourished:
· Encourage regular hydration, especially if your loved one takes medications that may cause dehydration.
· Pack snacks and meals that your loved one enjoys and that align with any dietary restrictions.
Be Mindful of Health Issues:
· If your loved one has respiratory issues, consider the air quality and bring necessary items like masks.
· Check the weather conditions and plan accordingly to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures.
Emergency Contacts and Information:
· Keep a list of emergency contacts, including healthcare providers.
· Carry a copy of your loved one's medical history, medications and any relevant medical documents.
Communication and Patience:
· Communicate openly with your loved one about the journey and any potential challenges.
· Practice patience and flexibility, understanding that travel plans may need adjustments.
By taking these steps, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable winter holiday trip for both you and your loved one. Safe travels!