While the assisted living community at Autumn View Gardens offers plenty to do in any season, we know that some seniors may be looking to travel with family while the grandkids are out of school. Whether your family is planning a vacation together and wants you to come along or you're considering visiting children or grandchildren during the warmer months, here are some planning and travel tips that can help you enjoy your adventure even more.
While cost is obviously a factor for most people traveling, seniors may want to also consider short and direct routes whenever possible. If you're driving, plan for plenty of stops to get out and walk, which can keep muscles and joints from getting too stiff. When flying, consider the timing on any layovers. A 30-minute layover often necessitates a sprint through the airport, but a 6-hour layover can mean standing or sitting in uncomfortable chairs too long. Try to find realistic layovers of one or two hours, which provide time to use restroom facilities, get drinks or food and arrive at your gate.
Airports provide golf cart shuttles and wheelchair services should you need assistance getting from gate to gate, and hotels offer rooms with walk-in showers and safety rails in the bathrooms. You may also want to ensure you have a room on the first floor if stairs are an issue and the elevators may not be convenient. Alternatively, you can ask for a room near the elevators.
Whether you're headed to a hotel, a cruise or family-friendly attractions with loved ones, don't be afraid to ask for amenities that may help you enjoy your time more.
Obviously, you'll want to pack clothing and other personal items that will see you comfortably through the trip, but plan to pack for medical or other issues too. That means ensuring you have prescriptions filled before traveling and packing any devices or helps you may find useful (such as CPAP machines or even a raised toilet seat). Some people cut down on packing by buying low-cost versions of items such as walkers or raised toilet seats and having them shipped to their destination.
Save money on your vacation or while traveling by educating yourself on senior discounts. Many attractions offer discounts, letting you save a bit of money on tickets, and you may be able to leverage an AARP or other membership to score discounts on dining, hotel rooms and other travel expenses.
Finally, be realistic about what you can accomplish when you travel. You'll enjoy your vacation or time with family more if you don't over cram the day with activities, especially if you need to rest between outings or don't like to be out late. Make summer travel this year a quality over quantity endeavor to ensure you enjoy every minute as much as possible.
Bethesda Foundaion is not associated with the Bethesda Health Group of St. Louis, MO.