The Women's Journal

How To Travel Safely With An Unwell Or Aging Loved One

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Summer is finally here—and so are summer vacations. For some, this means spontaneously packing the family up in the van and driving to the beach for a week of fun in the sun. For others, it means wondering if your loved one will even be able to make it out of the house. However, just because you have an aging or ill loved one, does not mean you need to postpone the family trip. With the right preparations, you can help your loved one enjoy a relaxing, worry-free vacation. 

1. Get doctor’s approval. First and foremost, consult with your loved one’s primary care physician and ensure that they are cleared for travel. Talk with their doctor or Delaware Hospice about any concerns or risks in traveling. If necessary, use this opportunity to make sure that your loved one is up-to-date on all vaccinations and has refills to any prescriptions. 

2. Arrange special services ahead of time. If you are planning on flying, contact the airline ahead of time and request wheelchair access at the airport, advanced boarding, or disabled seating, if necessary. You can do this for hotels, rental cars, and other vacation activities, as well. 

3. Pack lightly, with essential items easily accessible. Make sure to have all the essentials handy—this includes medication (and copies of prescriptions), water and snacks, emergency phone numbers, sunscreen, and important documentation (passport, Medicare card, and travel insurance). If you are flying, be sure you take their medications in your carry-on.

4. Be flexible. Plan for plenty of breaks and lots of downtime to accommodate your loved one’s needs. Be realistic and patient about how much activity they can or cannot do, and adjust your plans to their capabilities. 

5. Take extra precautions when traveling to the beach or somewhere hot. If traveling somewhere where you will be spending a lot of time in the sun, be sure to pack lots of sunscreen, loose fitting clothing, hats, and water. Make sure you know the signs of heatstroke. 

While traveling with an elderly or ill loved one requires a degree of preparation and caution, it can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. After all, you are going on a vacation to either visit long-distance friends or experience a new part of the world—all while spending quality time with your loved ones. 

If you are thinking about taking a vacation with your aging and ill loved one, Delaware Hospice can offer more specific help and recommendations based on your situation. Our team of professionals offers a vast range of expert guidance, care, and support. Call us at (800) 838-9800 for more information or visit