Taking a successful vacation when you are a
caregiver requires planning and coordination.
Here is some information and questions to
consider when planning your time away from home.
Vacationing With Your Loved One
destination accessible for my loved one’s
abilities? Ensure that stairs are kept to
a limit that is acceptable and have railings.
Are doorways wide enough for a wheelchair or
walker? Will the bathroom accommodate your
activities within my loved one’s capabilities?
Sometimes less is more. Be aware that your loved
one’s abilities may be different when not in the
comfort of home. Allow time for recuperation
from the travel before activities are planned.
checked the latest security regulations for
airlines, trains and buses? It is best to check
with your transportation provider prior to your
travel about what will be expected for security
and/or inspection. Make sure all medications are
in their original containers and anything liquid
is kept in a clear separate bag and ready for
inspection. Check with your doctor to see if
your loved one’s pacemaker or implanted medical
device can go through the X-ray process or if he
or she will need a separate “pat-down
inspection.” An excellent source of information
for travelers is the Transportation Security
Administration (www.tsa.gov). This website has
information for travelers with
disabilities/medical issues including those with
pacemakers, diabetes, mobility and hearing
through security at airports, if a separate
pat-down inspection is necessary, you may
request a private room and caregivers can stay
with their loved one.
travel provider prior to your travel of any
special needs your loved one will have. Airlines
can provide wheelchairs, or cart transportation
through the airport. Special accommodations are
also needed for individuals traveling with
elders are more sensitive to extreme heat and
more prone to dehydration. Ask your loved one’s
doctor about any concerns he may have for fluid
intake based on the climate you will be
layers to accommodate shifting between air
conditioning and the outdoors.
nearest location of an emergency room or urgent
care provider in the area you are visiting prior
to your trip.
family reunions or large parties, ensure that
elders have designated one-to-one time with
extended family members. Your loved one may get
lost in the hustle and bustle of a large party.
Having designated time with your loved one will
allow all family members to catch up on the news
compare this vacation with those of the past.
When you fall into this pattern of thinking, you
often focus on what is different or what you
can’t do. Think of each vacation as a new
chapter, a new adventure in your life.
Vacationing Without Your Loved One
arrangements for alternate caregivers well in
advance of your vacation. Do not expect other
family members to take on full responsibility
for care with only a week’s notice. Ensure
substitute caregivers know the dates and
expectations for care they will provide.
loved one and the substitute care provider meet
before you leave so that they will both be more
comfortable together. Ensure that the level of
care needed matches the care provider’s
When using a
formal provider for respite care, there are many
options. Private home health agencies can
provide assistance on an hourly or shift basis.
Rest homes, assisted living facilities and
nursing homes can often provide care on a
short-term respite basis if they have openings.
The private care provider will have to decide if
your loved one meets the level of care their
scheduled check-in time with your loved one or
their substitute care provider each day.
substitute caregivers have access to all
information needed including: medication
schedule (also be sure to have an ample supply
of medication available), all emergency phone
numbers including doctor, pharmacy, nearest
relative, your contact information, a listing of
medical conditions, power of attorney and health
care proxy information.
that both you and your loved one will have a
degree of worry and stress because this is a
change in the routine. Caregivers often need to
be reminded that part of taking care of someone
else is taking care of yourself. Recognizing and
acting on that need for relief is probably the
greatest gift you can give your loved one. It is
the gift that will allow you to continue caring.
Life changes and vacations change when you are a
caregiver. Caregiving does not mean you have to
give up your dreams of travel or your simple
desire to “get away from it all.” Caregiving
means that you have added a new dimension to
your planning and creativity to your schedule,
but the dream can still be fulfilled.
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