Even after the holidays, many people have travel plans that involve being in a car or plane for an extended period of time. When incontinence in elderly loved ones is a factor, it pays to think ahead and prepare for these trips. The following tips can make handling incontinence in elderly loved ones on a trip easier.
- Go for the aisle. If traveling on a train or plane, try to secure an aisle seat for the loved one with incontinence issues. Since there is often a time factor involved, it’s best if the loved one doesn’t have to wait for other people to move out of the way so that they may leave the seat. By the same token, try to get a seat as close to the bathrooms as possible.
- Consult GPS. Many GPS systems have information about rest stops. Take advantage of this when traveling long distances in cars. If it looks like there is going to be a long stretch of road without a facility, stop for a rest room break before entering that stretch of road.
- Plan breaks. Most caregivers have a pretty good idea of how frequently their companion needs a bathroom break. Make plans to stop accordingly, rather than waiting for an urgent need to arise.
- Monitor the diet. Caregivers also often know what a loved one’s triggers may be. For example, if salt or spicy foods makes urination more necessary, avoid these while on the road.
- Pack a travel kit. Bring a travel kit that includes whatever supplies are appropriate for one’s situation (pads, liners, adult diapers, change of clothes, wipes, cleansers, toilet paper, etc.).
- Check for laundry rooms. If staying in a hotel, find out in advance if it has laundry facilities available for guests. This can be necessary if accidents occur, either on the road or in the room.
- Ask. As many caregivers already know, sometimes a person with incontinence may be reluctant to speak up. Be sure to ask — frequently — how they are doing and if they need a bathroom break.
Incontinence in elderly people can present challenges when traveling. Staying one step ahead — and accepting that accidents do sometimes happen — is the best strategy to follow.