Senior Travel Success Checklist

Senior Travel Success Checklist

May 1, 2024

Download the PDF here!

Traveling with seniors, especially those living with dementia, requires thoughtful planning to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. With the warmer weather here, make the most of it! Use this checklist of items, activities, and emergency preparedness supplies to make your plans to travel with senior citizens go smoothly and enjoyably.

Before You Go: Planning and Preparation

  1. Consult with Healthcare Providers:
    • Schedule a visit with the senior’s primary care physician to discuss travel plans and any specific health considerations.
    • Ensure all necessary vaccinations are up to date.
  2. Identify Likely Disasters:
    • Know the types of disasters that could happen in your destination area, and how to proceed if one happens.
    • Learn about local emergency response plans, evacuation routes, and shelter resources.
  3. Assess Needs and Abilities:
    • Understand how the senior’s medical, physical, and cognitive needs may affect travel.
    • Consider mobility aids, medications, and any special requirements.
  4. Build a Support Network:
    • Include family, friends, and caregivers who can assist during the trip.
    • Share your travel plans with them and discuss roles and responsibilities.

Packing Checklist for Seniors: Comfort and Safety

  1. Essential Documents:Senior travel planning with senior mother and middle-age daughter
    • Identification (ID card, passport, driver’s license)
    • Medical information (list of medications, allergies, and emergency contacts)
    • Copies of legal papers (living will, power of attorney, etc.)
  2. Medications and Medical Supplies:
    • At least 30 days’ supply of medications
    • Extra assistive items (cane, eyeglasses, hearing aids, batteries, etc.)
    • Cooling packs for medications that require refrigeration.
  3. Comfort and Hygiene Items:
    • Lightweight hat and sunglasses
    • Comfortable walking shoes with good traction
    • Incontinence supplies (if needed)
    • Personal hygiene products
  4. Clothing:
    • Lightweight, breathable fabrics
    • Layered clothing for temperature changes
    • Sun-protective clothing (wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves)
  5. Travel Accessories:
    • Travel pillow for comfort during flights or long car rides
    • Collapsible water bottle
    • Noise-canceling headphones
  6. Emergency Preparedness Supplies:
    • First aid kit
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Whistle (to signal for help)
    • Dust mask (for filtering contaminated air)

Tips for Traveling with Senior Passengers with Dementia

  1. Plan for Familiarity:
    • Choose destinations that involve minimal changes in routine.
    • Stick to known places to reduce confusion.
  2. Avoid Overstimulation:
    • Elaborate sightseeing tours may cause anxiety and confusion.
    • Opt for simpler, less crowded activities.
  3. Create a Communication Plan:senior citizen smiling as his travels begin
    • Carry an emergency contact list.
      1. Leave a copy in your loved one’s pocket in the event you get separated.
    • Share itineraries with family and friends.
  4. Schedule Travel During Optimal Times:
    • Avoid late afternoons if the senior becomes tired or agitated.
    • Plan around the senior’s best time of day.
  5. Be Prepared for Emergencies:
    • Know local emergency services and pharmacies.
    • Pack essential supplies in a carry-on bag.

Be Prepared for New Protocol

Since the pandemic, many establishments large and small have implemented new policies about permitted items, use of clear bags, etc., and it varies from place to place. Call ahead or check online for anything that might affect your visit, and let the establishment know that you’ll be visiting with special medical needs. They’ll be happy to accommodate if you let them know ahead of time.

Remember, the goal is to create a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience for both the senior and the caregiver. Adapt the checklist based on individual needs and preferences… by the same token, many of the basic comforts apply to everyone, so be sure to have a comprehensive medical kit for everyone with things like anti-itch cream, general anesthetics (e.g. Tylenol), antacids for an upset stomach, and antibiotic ointment. Safe travels are happy travels!