Caregiving on vacation is one of the tougher tasks that you’ll have to encounter in your lifetime for a number of reasons. The thing to remember is that there will be a good deal of stimuli around which will inevitably lead to some confusion. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll still have a relaxing time while being on your “A game.”
1) Consult with Their Physician First
It’s always a good idea to get their primary care doctor involved in your plans, that way they can give you tips on how to handle some things on your upcoming journey. They may have some vaccinations to give you beforehand or may prescribe an antibiotic in case they get sick during your trip.
2) Arrange Any Special Services Before Arriving
You call ahead and speak with the airline so they can help accommodate your companion, especially if they are in a wheelchair or need to frequently use the restroom. They will be able to help get you seating next to a restroom on the plan that is wheelchair accessible. Another thing that they may be able to help with is getting you through the checkpoints, which may be confusing or frightening for your companion.
Another thing that you can do is call ahead to your hotel, resort, or Airbnb and make sure that they have amenities that will support your companion such as wheelchair ramps and hand rails in the shower. Doing this ahead of time will save you a lot of headaches while on your trip.
3) Gather Your Documents Ahead of Time
Having all of your paperwork and theirs for both entry and exit into the country gathered in a safe place is important, but don’t forget their medical information as well. This should include any allergies to medications, health issues, and a list of their current medications.
Do this for yourself as well; you can never be too safe!
4) Keep Important Medical Information Close
When in the travel phase, be sure to keep your companions’ medical information with you at all times. This means keeping it in your carry-on bag or on your person. Also, keep their medication with you in your carry-on. If any bag should be lost or delayed, at least they will have their medications to keep them going while things are figured out.
5) Refill Medications
Making sure you have enough medicine to get you by is important, but even more so is planning for an emergency. If your bag gets wet and the medicine is ruined, or it gets misplaced along your journey to your hotel, it is great to have a backup of brand new refills just in case.
Also, you never know if flights will get delayed. If you only bring enough for the trip itself, you’ll find yourself in a tight spot!
6) Make an Itinerary That Accommodates Both of You
Making sure that both you and your companion are well taken care of should be your number one consideration when traveling. By that we mean, allow for several breaks during your outings during the day.
If you are going to a museum or somewhere older (like a castle for example) there will be a lot of walking and possibly elevated walkways to get around. These breaks are both for them and for you. Pushing a wheelchair around on elevations is doubly tiring, so be sure to account for taking plenty of rest breaks.
7) Keep A Schedule
If you operate on a schedule at home, try to keep that going while on your travels. This is especially important to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks and gets forgotten, especially when it comes to medications.
Another reason it is helpful is that it is easier for people with dementia to stay on a schedule that they are used to. Everything around them will be new and confusing, but if you can keep your routine from home, then it will make it much easier for them.
8) Research Medical Services in Your Travel Areas
You can never be too safe, and in the case of an emergency, it’s important to take your companion to the best hospital available. Since you should have a clear itinerary to make sure you both are taken care of, you’ll be able to check on the best medical facilities available along your route and in the areas, you’ll be exploring together.
Make a list, and you’ll be able to give clear instructions on where you need to go to taxi or ambulance drivers in the case of an emergency.
9) Make Copies
Be sure to have extra copies of your documents we spoke of earlier, that way if one is misplaced, damaged or lost, you won’t be in hot water. Having extras sets you up for success, in the case that things are going awry.
10) Enjoy Your Time Together
Caregiving on vacation isn’t always easy, but it is very rewarding. You can both get a little relaxation time and build some memories that you will cherish forever. Don’t let the idea of a challenging travel situation get in the way of possibly your favorite times together.
Caregiving on vacation doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. Our 10 tips are a great start, but if you feel like you need more information to help while you are caregiving on vacation, give us a call at (714) 289-7220, or you can email us here