We Need a Vacation….We ALL Do

April 18, 2011


Extended Family Vacations Take Some Pre-Planning

It’s vacation time! Doesn’t everyone need one?

When I was younger, my family’s vacation and travel itinerary consisted of driving and driving with a bit more driving mixed in for adventure. We saw lots of great views….from the windows.  And my parents encouraged us to soak in the scenery with reminders to “Wake up!  You might never see this part of the country again!”

Our trips were fast and furious, but they were fun and we have great memories of our misadventures.

Today, I still love to travel and I try to share some of those adventures with my parents.  However, I know that travelling with senior parents is a bit different than tagging along in the back seat as a kid.

Here’s a list of some things to consider while planning your summer outings with seniors:

  1. Take time to enjoy! Vacations offer a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our parents in a very unique way.  Quiet evenings and a relaxed setting encourage a time for sharing our past, present, and future plans with one another.
  2. Know your parents’ schedule and pace. It’s nice to have an agenda, but it’s even better to schedule down time and rest days.
  3. Evaluate your parents’ abilities and consider the physical location and area terrain. A town or city with amenities such as public transportation may provide better mobility than the rugged outdoors with a hilly terrain.
  4. Keep agendas flexible and loosely plan days. Scheduling rest days and providing several options may help the senior choose activities based on their energy level.  And offering choices may help your senior parent avoid feeling like a “wet blanket” if their day’s energy level doesn’t match the mood of only one activity.
  5. Rent a condo or vacation home instead of a hotel. A rental home or condominium provides plenty of room for relaxation and privacy.  Additionally, a kitchen allows for healthy snacks and a flexible dining schedule.  A quiet dinner at home will certainly provide decompression time following a hectic day touring the local museum or shopping gallery.
  6. Carry copies of passports. Each family member should have a copy of everyone’s passport page, along with their own pocket money.
  7. Pack together. It’s easier to share toiletries, appliances and other items if packing is done together.   And, packing light makes it easier for everyone to transfer luggage!
  8. Contact local health care centers upon arrival. Obtain numbers and addresses of local health professionals, as well as maintaining an information card with your senior’s healthcare information from home.

What is your favorite vacation memory?  Please share your memories and vacation ideas with our readers below or on our Caregiver Forum.

Alisa Meredith, Writer

Guest writer Alisa Meredith is a blogger and social media professional with Scalable Social Media. Every once in a while, someone at Home Instead does something that compels her to stop Tweeting and write something real! This is one of those times.

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