Caregiver Travel: 5 Tips for Summer Road Trips with an Aging Loved One

Now that that spring has finally arrived in Kentuckiana, many families are beginning to prepare for summer vacation. If you are a caregiver, traveling with the person, you care for can cause increased anxiety. Even if you are only planning a short distance trip, the logistics and safety concerns caregivers can make travel seem impossible. What can you do to make it easier on your family and your older loved one?

Here are our top 5 tips for preparing for your summer road trip:

1.     Be Prepared: 

If you plan ahead, some of the anxiety caregivers have about travel can be managed.

  •  Think about what time of day your loved one is usually at their best. Plan to travel during that time of day.
  •  Plan your route and resist the urge to get as far as you can in one day; so you arrive at your destination or your hotel ahead of the time they usually struggle or need a break.  The kids will enjoy the extra time in the hotel pool if you have to stop earlier in the day than you would like.

2.     Have Realistic Expectations:

Driving twelve hours a day when you are on your own might be achievable. However, if your loved one usually naps or needs a break during the late afternoon, you need to consider that in your trip planning. Especially if the older adult you will be traveling with has dementia. It may take longer to get where you are going, but it will be worth it when you arrive safely and without additional stress.

3.     Plan for an Emergency:

Pack a copy of your loved one’s medication list, physician contact information, any pertinent medical history/documents, and something that lists whom to call in case of an emergency. It might be tough to think about planning for an emergency during the excitement of preparing for vacation. Yes, no caregiver wants to think their loved one will need a hospital emergency room in the midst of a holiday getaway. Unfortunately, it does happen.

CareZone is a great, free care-based app. You can keep all of your loved one’s pertinent information on the secured app and invite family and friends to view and participate in his or her care.

4.     Invest in a Safe Return Bracelet:

Welcome centers and rest stops can be hectic during the summer travel months. You may think you can keep a close eye on your loved one, but sometimes the unthinkable happens, especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Before you head out on your summer road trip, you might want to consider purchasing a Safe Return bracelet for them. The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana has an office in Louisville or you can purchase one online from the National Alzheimer’s Association.

5.     Remember Your Car Cell Phone Charger:

It may seem like an obvious item to pack, but it is often overlooked. Parts of Kentucky still have challenging reception. That causes your cell phone battery to go dead more quickly. Make sure your battery is fully charged before you leave home.

Are you a caregiver traveling with your loved one this year? How are you planning to manage the trip?  JFCS offers a practical and emotional support through individual services and free support groups. Call us to learn how we can help you and your loved one so that this summer is one to remember!

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