Old age is not a reason to avoid going on adventures on the road. However, there are certain things you have to do to ensure that your elderly passengers are safe and comfortable during the trip.
If it’s time to get your elderly loved one away from the house and the lifting machine for aged care, here’s what you need to do before you take them on a road trip:
1. Consult with their physician
Before anything else, speak with your elderly loved one’s physician to ensure that their health is up for a road trip. Find out the prescriptions they might have and the safety precautions that you have to keep in mind when you hit the road. The doctor can also educate you about what to do in case of a health emergency while you’re in the middle of nowhere without immediate medical help. If not, take the initiative to ask them about what you can do in specific worst-case scenarios.
2. Bring health essentials
Double-check if your elderly loved one’s medications are packed. If they are bringing their meds in a pill organizer, ask them to get extra pills just in case. Moreover, don’t leave home without a complete first-aid kit with bandages, aspirin, antibiotic treatment, and other essentials.
3. Keep your itinerary loosely-packed
Anyone will get tired after spending hours on the road, regardless of age, but elderly passengers tend to feel tired faster. To keep them well-rested and comfortable, ensure that your itinerary provides enough opportunities for them to rest in between drives.
4. Plan plenty of rest stops
Our elderly loved ones require more frequent bathroom breaks, so plan your trip with frequent stops at establishments with public bathrooms. Stopping once every two hours or so will also allow everybody to stretch their muscles, which can help prevent pains and aches.
5. Provide back support
Bring back support pillows to prevent your elderly loved one from getting a sore back. Better yet, make sure that everybody has a pillow that can provide proper lumbar support while sitting.
6. Pack jackets and blankets
Older adults are more sensitive to cold temperatures, so they can quickly get uncomfortable with the AC blasting in the car. To avoid discomfort and cold-related muscle pain, bring a jacket or blanket to keep them warm.
7. Eat at the right times
Many older adults like to eat at the same times every day. Hence, if you drive for too long and miss their mealtime, they might get hungry and complain. To avoid this, maintain their regular mealtimes as much as possible while out on the road. When the time to eat is nearing, find a place where you can stop and eat on the map.
Also, pack plenty of water and healthy snacks in the cooler. However, don’t make your passengers eat while the car is moving if they are prone to motion sickness. Stop the car and let everyone finish their snacks.
8. Get a handicapped permit
If your loved one has limited mobility, obtain a handicapped permit so that you can park in designated parking areas at restaurants, malls, hotels, and other locations you will pass through on your road trip.
9. Install a mount on your car
Install a wheelchair mount at the back of your car if it cannot fit inside the trunk. It also helps to plan regarding the amount of stuff you bring so that you don’t overload your vehicle.
10. Add a cushion to their seat belt
Seat belts can be uncomfortable for elderly patients. To address this issue, install a wrap-around pad on your elderly passenger’s seat belt. If you don’t have a wrap-around pad, a soft blanket will do.
11. Bring lots of entertainment
With hours upon hours on the road, a trip can quickly get boring if you don’t find ways to entertain your passengers. So before you leave the house, download songs, bring books or magazines, and learn some entertaining road trip games that you can play while on the road. Playing games and listening to music in the car also helps the driver be alert, which is incredibly important, especially when you’ve been driving for hours.
Our elderly loved ones are the most affected by the rigors of a long road trip. To keep them safe, happy, and comfortable, take note of the things that you have to prepare and ensure that you’ve made the proper precautions for everyone’s safety. Remember that old age shouldn’t stop someone from traveling, but it might take a bit more preparation to do so comfortably.