Traveling with a Senior

Traveling is difficult whether near or far, young or old, especially if you are flying during your travels. Many people rely on summer vacations with family as their primary vacation, and if you are a caregiver you will most likely need to take your loved one with you on the vacation. Many seniors enjoy traveling with young grandchildren. Group tours can be exciting for aging adults as it is something that is social, relaxing, and refreshing. Some cruise lines may offer deals to seniors and to certain church groups, and many aging adults take advantage of these cruises. Bus lines may also offer specialized pricing on exciting trips. The airlines and trains will offer seasonal discounts, or special discounts, to aging adults. Some trains offer cross-country tours which seniors may thoroughly enjoy in their spare time. Traveling sounds fun and exciting, and there are a few things a caregiver, or senior, should know before they travel.

If your loved one or yourself have chronic conditions, or an illness, traveling can become a little more difficult. You may also need to consult a doctor while planning your trip to make sure it is going to be a safe travel. Sometimes there are emergencies while you are on vacation, and if you are abroad it is good to know what to have with you to avoid further complications. In the event of an emergency abroad, you should contact the American Citizen Services of the American consulates and embassies. The American Citizen Services will help you with a list of doctors, clinics and/or dentists in the area. They will also inform a family member in the US that you have been injured or had an illness during your travels. By contacting a caregiver or family member, the American Citizen Services will ensure contact or communication with those who are helping with your traveling loved one. They will help arrange the transportation your loved one may need back to the United States on a commercial flight, but they will not pay for this arrangement. If your loved one dies while traveling in another country, and you need to transport the remains, they will explain the costs or sending your loved one back to you, or burial costs if you wish them to do so.

Since traveling can sometimes have a dark side for those who have an illness, or develop an illness, it is important to know a few things about living wills. If your loved one becomes disabled or has a life-threatening illness while they are traveling outside the United States, the foreign country may not accept an advance directive or any other legal document an attorney may have written. Your aging loved one’s wishes may not be honored unless they are sent back to the United States, so it is important to take a few precautions.

A living will should be taken with your senior loved one on their trip, and tell the other traveling companions where this document is being kept. Take any healthcare directive documents with you, including any specialized medical information regarding health and well-being of your senior loved one. These documents will help ensure that the wishes your loved one has when they are not able to speak for themselves. It will let the medical providers and decision makers know the preferences of the senior, and will serve as the legal documented voice of that person. Without a living will, the family or medical staff may make the healthcare or end-of-life decisions. The advanced healthcare directive will also serve in your loved ones favor if your loved one may have a temporary illness, or a chronic illness, such as a stroke, where they cannot speak for that moment being. Often times a person can still speak for themselves, and in this case, they could override the legal documents they may have arranged prior to the illness. Having these legal documents with you while you travel is the most important thing, especially for seniors or those with pre-existing conditions.

The next time you decide to take your loved one on a trip to the Ice Hotel in Sweden, see Big Ben in London, or visit The Big Apple here in the states, remember the toothbrush, the ID, and the living will. Always plan ahead, as we never know what we may run into during our travels.

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