Most of us are not too aware of the problems faced by the elderly in their daily lives. We do know that they are usually on several medications and have certain mobility problems but we do not realize that there are quite a few points you need to note before you travel along with your elderly parents or grandparents. If you are planning to do a trip with the seniors anytime soon, here’s a guide for you:
You are mostly aware of the fact that Indian seniors cling to their desi food as much as possible. Barring a few exceptions, most of them are not too adventurous with trying out new dishes. Also, they might have certain religious principles which prevents them from having certain food items in their menu. And they can be pretty stubborn about their food choices. Breakfast and dessert options are not much of a problem, the major issues revolve around lunch and dinner. The issue is even more complex when you are a vegetarian traveling abroad. While I’ve seen younger vegetarians having lunch with their non-veg eating friends at the same table, for elderly it might pose to be a problem. The sheer sight of non-veg food is enough to kill their appetite for the whole day.
Tip: Keep plenty of snacks handy, if they skip a meal handover these snacks. Try to avoid adventurous food joints altogether; the sight of a suckling pig or a beef soup might jeopardize their appetite for the whole trip.
Mostly elderly people are well aware and organized about their med schedules. Help them organize their medicines and also keep a summarized copy of their regular medicines with you. If they fall sick, give them ample rest and try not to panic. In case of sickness visit a local doctor for moral boost if you can; nothing soothes a senior like a doctor’s friendly reassurance.
Tip: Always, always go for a good travel insurance covering emergency medical costs when a senior is travelling with you.
Lack of energy and mobility issues
Most elderly people have mobility issues to some extent and they need more rest than younger adults. Plan well in case your travel partner is a senior having joint pain, arthritis etc. If you are travelling to a developed country, you can book for wheelchairs if required. Avail the buggy cars at the airports, plan in advance so that you know how to avail these options. Seniors are not easily persuaded, especially when they feel tired it is better to provide rest for some time instead of pressurizing them too much.
Tip: Handle with care, elderly people can become irritable if they feel that they are slowing down the group or messing with the schedules.
Plan a relaxed itinerary
Travel is a fun activity and should not seem like an exercise. Know the limits of the elderly companions, energy wise and mobility wise. Do not plan for a hectic schedule which might cause trouble healthwise. Keep a day extra in case you miss a day due to unforeseen circumstances. Try to avail rented cars and taxis to avoid walking as much as possible. Do not cramp too many attractions in a single day.
Tip: Seniors are usually forgetful so it is better to keep important documents with the younger ones in the group.
Travelling with your aging parents or grandparents can be a unique experience. It can give you better perspectives and travel insights and also make you nostalgic about your childhood travel memories. The innocent and unique happiness of your near and dear ones while they travel with you can give you immense pleasure and you will not regret bringing them along for the trip. Do keep the above points in mind and you are bound to have an experience of a lifetime.
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