Many senior citizens like to travel for entertainment and to see family and friends, especially during the holidays. But is traveling with a senior this season a good idea, then, with the COVID-19 pandemic? It can be, so long as you are abiding by the CDC-declared SOPs and are taking care of all precautions.
We recommend getting tested for the virus prior to making any travel plans. After all, seniors are still seniors. In this blog post, we will go over some tips and factors you need to consider when traveling with a senior this season.
Packing up for COVID
Since lockdowns have been lifted and the COVID-19 pandemic can be survived with strict adhereance to precaution, you need to pack for COVID. This includes all CDC-recommended supplies, such as face masks (preferably KN-95, it wouldn’t hurt to have your senior wear two masks either), hand gloves, hand wash, hand sanitizers (with the correct proportion of ingredients proven the most effective in disinfecting against the virus).
Medications should include paracetamol or any other preferred pain killers, anti-pyretic medication, expectorants, and any other doctor-prescribed medication.
Make sure you pack up extra food, such as liquids, energy bars, anything to get your senior’s energy going. If they are diabetic, then make sure they wear twice than the additional layer of clothing to prevent any cuts as the immune system of diabetics can only deal with one ailment at a time. Keep away anything sweet from their diet (go for sugar-free energy bars) and pack up all of their diabetes medication, too.
Pack Medication Carefully
We have already gone over COVID-related medication, but these are for general use.
Some seniors need to take specific medicines several times daily (like diabetic medication as mentioned above). Therefore, pack their meds carefully. Dosing times may sometimes need to be changed as well, especially if a drug makes them tired or carries too many contraindications.
But sometimes, medication is not easy to obtain. It would help if you had prescriptions for even the most regularly available drugs. Taking this into consideration, purchase their medications beforehand and pack them up carefully.
Filtered water or different beverages should be promptly accessible for taking doses.
Make sure their medication and other essential products are enough to last the entire trip. Having a discussion with their doctor is recommended before the trip. Taking a prescription bottle (regardless of whether their pills have been placed into a day-by-day dose compartment) proves that the prescription is genuinely for a traveler.
Health Conditions to Watch Out For
After all, it is winter, and one must ensure that their loved one does not fall sick. Frostbite occurs when the body sustains damage to the skin, which may go all the way down to the bone. Seniors should cover up all their body parts to avoid frostbite and try to stay indoors at night.
While hypothermia is a very unlikely condition for young adults to catch (since everybody is under layers), there’s a higher chance your senior might get it. It comes with the aging process and the changes it brings, making seniors more susceptible to the medical condition.
Accidents can happen rather too frequently in winters. It becomes very easy to slip and fall on ice. So, make sure the path your loved one walks on is clear and not iced over. Have them wear boots and keep an ice-crutch in hand to be safe.
Now, for COVID-related symptoms. If you are being careful, these shouldn’t come to pass. But at the sign of difficulty in breathing, dry cough, and bodily pain, make sure you have your senior take anti- pyretics and paracetamol. We missed this, but pack a thermometer and oximeter as well. Make sure their temperature stays at 97°F and does not reach a 100°F or beyond. Oxygen saturation should always stay ahead of 90. Consider shortening your trip or visiting a nearby doctor if you’re not getting any of these mentioned readings.
Jet Lag and Circulation
Talking about jetlag, most travel explorers can endure only three-time regional changes without feeling them. Getting a lot of rest before takeoff is ideal. Get as much shut-eye as possible on the plane, too.
While on a flight, some suggest not drinking, even though it’s promptly advertised. It can make the lower legs swell, and seniors by and large suffer from urinary incontinence in the first place. To resolve the issue, seniors ought to get up from their seats each hour to stroll down the walkway to the rear of the plane to get the flow going.
We recommend staying on the road, though. Traveling on your own in a car lets you have more control over the trip and avoid gathered up crowds and public spaces.
Dressing ideal for travel is essential as well. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) puts out an atmosphere graph for significant urban communities worldwide. It records high and low temperatures, height, long periods of downpour, and data about food to eat or avoid.
Depending on the climate of a destination, it is suggested that seniors choose their clothes accordingly. What’s more, by wearing casual shoes that are easy and comfortable to wear, seniors won’t face the problems of untying and tying shoes when walking through metal detectors, etc.
Travel Closer to Home
Lengthy trips are ill-advised at this time. Consider a short one; a weekend trip, perhaps? Or anything else that does not exceed a 100 miles from where you live—more specifically, where your senior does. While most hotels and inns provide complimentary hand sanitizers and COVID amenities, most lack in following basic COVID SOPs. Instead, consider visiting local landmarks and attractions and going site-seeing with your senior instead of planning a too distant, long trip. This will not only be convenient for your senior—they will prefer such a short trip, too—but it will also be convenient for you as well.
In the end, careful preparation and adherence to certain safety precautions is important when traveling with a senior this holiday season during COVID. Keep your trip short. Wash your hands every thirty minutes and after any outside contact and keep a hand sanitizer with you and your senior at all times. But don’t forget to have fun! With all said and done, enjoying the trip is what the trip is actually about.