Is it starting to feel like summer, or what? Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have been enjoying balmy (scorching?) temperatures into the 90s, in some areas. As temperatures begin to rise and we hang up our puffy down jackets, thoughts turn to summer - and travel.
For caregivers and other family involved in a senior’s care, planning time away involves more than just booking flights and hotels. Whether you live with your loved one, make regular visits, or actively participate in long-distance caregiving, we advise that you thoughtfully plan for support while you’re away.
Consider the following:
How long will you be away? Do your travels overlap with your otherwise regular visits?
Will you have cell phone reception and/or internet access?
In an emergency, how easy would it be to get to your loved one? This may be affected by how far away you will be and access to transportation. If you’re backpacking in Tahoe, you may be physically closer than if you were in Seattle, but you’ll have a much harder time with communication and transportation.
Caregivers need to take time off to recharge, reconnect with others, and rest. Still, it’s important to make a caregiving plan so you don’t have to worry while you’re away.
Here are ten suggestions as you plan your Memorial Day getaway and upcoming summer vacations:
Inform your loved one of your travel plans. If they’re forgetful, you may have to remind them more than once.
Inform family and your support network of your travel plans. Identify a point person who will be in town during your vacation, and agree on their specific role (i.e. emergency contact) while you’re away.
Arrange for people to visit and call at regular intervals. It may be helpful to divide this up between multiple people, not only your identified point person. Think of family, neighbors, church members, and friends. It may be helpful to make a calendar and put the schedule in writing.
Write down your hotel’s contact information and put it somewhere prominent, like your loved one’s refrigerator. This is especially important if you’ll be somewhere without cell phone reception.
Verify that your loved one’s Advanced Directive is up to date and on file with their local hospital and physician’s office. Also, check if the Advance Directive lists an alternate agent and inform the alternate agent of your travel plans.
Stock your loved one’s fridge with essentials, refill their prescriptions, and fill their pill box if this is usually your responsibility.
If you are the contact person on a senior’s Personal Medical Alert system, you may want to notify the company of your travel plans and identify an alternate.
Buy travel insurance. Emergencies happen and plans change.
Arrange for private-duty home care or extra hours of existing care, if needed. If you need help identifying a home care agency, contact us! We can help you find a reliable and trustworthy agency.
Enjoy your vacation! Caregiving can be stressful, and it’s important to take breaks. Remember that you deserve this time away, and that you can trust other people while you’re gone. They will contact you if they need you, so relax!
With the right preparation, you can leave for any vacation knowing that your loved one is well-cared for. If you need additional support creating a care plan, please feel free to reach out to Ayon Living. We’re here with expertise to help you plan your loved one’s care every step of the way.
Stay cool, and happy trails to you.