Being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs a person will take on in their life. Even the idea of taking a few days off means planning ahead to make sure your loved one is taken care of while you’re gone. We’re helping busy caregivers by breaking down the options and providing tips on how to prepare for each travel arrangement.
Option #1 Your Loved One Stays at Home
If your loved one doesn’t need assistance to get around the house, take a shower, bathe, and make food, then it could be possible for them to stay at home if the trip is a week or less. The good news is there are devices and gadgets for aging in place that make leaving an elderly loved one alone less stressful.
To prepare for a trip while your loved one stays at home:
- Get your loved one a medical alert to wear at all times. Top providers like Alert1 have products that allow you to choose who is contacted if the alert goes off. You can even program it to call your cell phone.
- Install Wi-Fi connected security cameras. Internet enabled security cameras can be installed indoors and outdoors so you can keep an eye on the home wherever you are.
- Use tools to keep medications on track. If you don’t already use a weekly pill container now is the time to start using one. A pill container makes it much easier to remember when pills need to be taken. An app like Carezone or Pillpack can also be used to manage medications if your loved one has a smartphone or tablet. Each time they take their medication they can update it on the app to keep you informed.
- Stock the fridge and pantry. Make sure your loved one has enough food to last for the entire duration of your trip plus a few extra days.
- Check the calendar for appointments. Try your best to reschedule any appointments that occur during your vacation time so you don’t have to make additional arrangements.
It’s also a good idea to have a trusted neighbor or family member go by at least once a day to check up on your loved one.
Option #2 Your Loved One Stays With a Friend of Family Member
If you don’t like the idea of your loved one staying by themselves all day and night or they are unable to do so for medical reasons the next best option is for them to stay with someone else. A few things to do before you leave include:
- Provide the host with a list of their medications and a schedule for when they need to be taken.
- Give the host an emergency contact list. Include your contact information as well as the contact for your loved one’s primary physician.
- Buy extra groceries for the host and your loved one. Also point out if your loved one has any specific nutritional needs or a diet to follow.
Option #3 Your Loved One Comes Along
Why not invite your loved one to join the fun? If they’re mobile enough and don’t have serious medical needs it may be easiest to bring them along on your trip. They can even help watch the kids so the parents can have a romantic dinner during vacation.
When your elderly loved one is coming with you on a trip packing becomes even more important. You’ll want to:
- Get all prescriptions filled. You’ll need to have enough medication to last the entire trip plus a few extra days in case there are delays.
- Make sure you have all the necessary medical supplies. Anything your loved one uses on a weekly basis should be packed.
- Make sure you have necessary contact information and documentation. Bring a copy of your loved one’s prescriptions, their health insurance card and the phone number for their primary physician.
- Increase the comfort of travel accommodations. Elderly travelers have unique needs and traveling can take a harder toll on their body. Consider how you can make the ride or flight more comfortable. For example, securing the disability row on an airplane.
Being a caregiver means doing a lot of planning to make sure your loved one has the medical attention and support they need. The tips above will help you relax a little easier knowing your loved one is taken care of while you’re away.