As the holiday season approaches, people across the country are planning to hit the roads and the skyways to visit friends and relatives. Traveling for anyone can be difficult, but it can be particularly challenging for seniors. Holidays tend to disrupt a variety of routines that are important to our health and happiness, so it’s important to identify potential challenges and formulate a strong action plan.
Pre-Trip: Visiting Your Doctor
Seniors should consider scheduling an appointment with their doctor prior to embarking on any trip. Doctors can not only clear someone for travel before the trip, but can also provide advice regarding behavioral steps that can be taken to increase the chances of staying healthy during the trip.
Holidays can typically be a bit disruptive for a variety of reasons, and travel might only heighten any potential challenges or pitfalls. A few things to consider as you prepare for your holiday trip:
- Allow the proper amount of time for rest before and after completing travel. Travel by any mode of transportation – whether it be plane, car, or train – can be particularly tiring, especially for seniors. If possible, plan to dedicate some time before leaving and then upon arrival to get the necessary relaxation prior to engaging in the variety of holiday events.
- Make sure that you have enough medication for the full duration of the trip. Trying to reach your doctor and fulfill any prescriptions while out of town and over the holidays may not only prove difficult, but could add unnecessary stress and present a health risk.
- Try and bring along appropriate medical documentation, such as doctor contact information or emergency telephone numbers (A helpful suggestion would be to take pictures of these documents on a cell phone so you don’t have to worry about carrying paper).
- Be sure to share your travel details and itinerary with family or emergency contacts.
- Drink plenty of fluids while traveling, especially water.
- Plan out a healthy diet – beyond the main holiday meals – to include the proper nutritional intake. This might help balance that extra-large piece of pumpkin pie that you are planning to eat!
- Always bring along hand sanitizer and don’t touch your face while traveling, until you have sanitized or washed your hands!
And Finally . . .
Many people will be traveling to cold weather locations. Always be aware of potentially icy conditions on walkways or roads to help avoid any damaging falls, and remember: cold temperatures raise blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart attacks. ALWAYS DRESS WARMLY to maintain body heat.
The Board of Directors and staff at At Home In Darien would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and remember, we are available to Darien seniors to help with all local travel. Call us at (203) 655-2227 to arrange a ride.