A Home Instead CAREGiverSM and a family caregiver will be taking senior loved ones on vacations this year. Different destinations and transportation modes are involved, but the caregivers and the seniors can enjoy their getaways if they plan ahead.
The CAREGiver, who has worked for her Home Instead Senior Care® franchise for nine years, is an old pro at all varieties of vacations. She’s virtually a member of the client’s family, having accompanied her client on a number of group vacations. She and her client will fly this time.
“My client and I have been out of the country on a cruise, to the West Coast several times, traveled a couple times by commercial jet from Hattiesburg and to a nearby state three or four times a year with the use of a customized handicapped minivan,” the CAREGiver said. “My client uses a wheelchair because of a debilitating disease, but she likes a change of scenery from Hattiesburg every now and then.
“The secret is to make sure you are realistic about what your client can do on any given day. She and I have been given the green light to say ‘no’ or ‘timeout for grandma’ when we feel like it. When I talk about everything I do, it sounds difficult, but it isn’t. I am there to help her eat, bathe, use the restroom and other things.”
So where does she start to prepare?
Senior Vacation list for CAREGivers:
- Ask care-community nurses to get medications and vitamins ready.
- Gather all the personal hygiene supplies and other related things.
- Pack the senior’s clothes, accounting for the vacation climate and conditions.
- Plan for an afternoon nap, and schedule events so that bedtime is about 8 p.m. each day.
- Double-check travel schedule details.
- Take plenty of photos.
The family caregiver, who is driving his 89-year-old mother to her old hometown about 200 miles from Hattiesburg, hasn’t had Mom on the road since she spent 10 days in the hospital last winter while battling congestive heart failure. The grandmother of four also has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease and uses a walker. She desperately wants to make it back to her old stomping grounds and see her elderly sister-in-law, two nephews and a niece. But she often becomes fearful at dusk. How should the family caregiver proceed?
Here’s what the CAREGiver and other senior-care experts offer:
- Be sure of your senior’s routine; how often does she need bathroom breaks?
- Is your senior on a restricted diet and, if so, what does she eat and when?
- Help the senior maintain her habits to avoid becoming ill while away from Hattiesburg.
- Ask your senior to discuss the trip with her physician. Ask the doctor for any travel recommendations.
- Consider the climate where you’ll be headed, remembering seniors can become chilled easier than younger travelers. Maintain hydration and take breaks when fatigue sets in.
- Sometimes reassurance is needed if seniors become confused about their location. Stay calm and use a soothing, low tone to let them know they’re OK and remind them about the fun they’re planning to have.
- Finally, prepare for fun times and memories that accompany them.
The veteran CAREGiver’s final advice to the family caregiver: “Go for it. Be realistic but remain positive. My client just loves to be out and about, and there’s no reason that she can’t be. Other than the cerebral palsy and arthritis, she is healthy and capable of enjoying life like she does. She loves life and is a joy to be around.”
For more information, contact Home Instead Senior Care Hattiesburg, MS at 601-261-2114 or Ask us a question about Senior Home Care.