Whether you’re planning a two-week cruise or visiting out-of-town relatives for a few days over the holidays, senior travel can be great for the whole family. Traveling with an elderly loved one can be more than just manageable—you can all enjoy the time away from your usual routine. The secret to successfully traveling with a senior is taking along the equipment and daily living aids, usually in portable formats, that you depend on at home. Some versions are designed to fit flat in a suitcase to make bringing them even easier. Of course, these aids for seniors can also be ordered and shipped to your destination ahead of time.
"The wide array of daily living aids now available to seniors enables even those with limited mobility to travel more safely and comfortably than ever before,” explains Nathalie Kim of Carex, a global leader in the development, manufacturing and retailing of in-home, self-care medical products. “Our focus is every bit as much on quality of life as it is on quality of products, and so we've gone to great lengths to make certain seniors can rely on our products to help them enjoy the activities they've always enjoyed, including traveling. By planning ahead and bringing along such easy-to-transport items as support pillows, medication organizers, portable bath benches and lightweight walkers and totes, seniors can travel secure in their knowledge that they can stay independent and comfortable, even away from home.”
Beyond the usual needs of the senior, here are 10 top travel items to take with you.
Making It Easier To Get Around
Depending on the senior traveler’s mobility level, assistive devices are wonderful aids for seniors to ward off fatigue and allow the senior to be part of all the activities.
1. A folding cane is an ingenious device that snaps into action when you need it and folds up for you to tuck away when it's not. A seat cane is an equally ingenious alternative. It provides support when walking and, at the touch of a button or lever, a seat unfolds, allowing the user to take a rest. Some models weigh as little as 2 pounds, but can support up to 250.
2. A lightweight rollator can make getting around easier. The Cruiser II Rollator from Nova folds easily when not in use and weighs just 10 pounds.
3. For day trips with the transport chair, make carrying essentials easier by using a wheelchair backpack to stow all important aids in one place, from medication to a blood pressure monitor, diabetes tester and snacks. Look for a design that attaches securely with loops and buckles.
4. On the way to your travel destination by car, plane or other mode of, using a memory foam neck support pillow will keep you from arriving with the achiness caused by falling sleeping without any head and neck support.
Sweet Dreams Are Easier With Bedroom Basics
5. When incontinence is a problem, having a supply of disposable bed underpads will take embarrassment out of the equation by avoiding soiled sheets. Buy underpads in the size closest to the size of the bed that will be used and bring wide, clear packing tape to secure the edges all around, if needed. In the morning, fold up the pad and just throw it out.
6. To make getting out of bed easier, bring along a portable bed rail with a built-in organizer. This gripping device helps seniors sit up and get out of bed, and some designs include a pouch that will hold items like glasses, so essentials stay within reach.
Daily Living Aids Make Vacation Spaces Feel Like Home
7. Easy to overlook, but a great and simple device is a covered cup. This allows the elderly to stay hydrated without worrying about spills. Choose a style with a straw if sipping is easier than holding up the cup to drink.
8. On hectic days, forgetting to take medication is a frequent mishap, with potentially disastrous consequences. A pillbox with an alarm or other audio and visual reminder can keep the senior on their regularly scheduled programming.
9. Bathroom safety is a priority at home or away. Make bathing easier with a portable shower bench. Look for a design that features a contoured seating area and is easily adjustable in width to fit most bathtubs (from 19" to 28" wide).
10. Another everyday aid to help eliminate the stress over potential leaks is a reusable chair pad. Invacare's 21" by 22" size is easy to carry and available in a choice of colors.