Tips for Traveling with Seniors

PhotobucketHave you ever thought of traveling with the "senior" members in your family? Vacationing with elder family members might be thought of as a challenge, but it's one that has rich rewards and could be well worth it. In our fractured modern society there is less and less interaction with the older generation of our extended families, and we're the poorer for it. A timeshare rental is a made to order vacation when traveling with grandparents, great aunts and uncles or any senior member of the family.

Since your timeshare rental will most likely be attached to a resort, this offers everyone the chance to "do their thing." The kids can be as active as they want while the older adults can be as quiet as they choose. The extra bedrooms guarantee that every family member can go to bed when it suits them, and the extra living space means there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out and relax.

Barbara Riley, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, who was fortunate enough to be able to travel with her 80-year old mother, offers these tips to make the entire process enjoyable for everyone.

The first thing is communication, says Riley. During the planning stages spend A Lot of time talking about expectations so that on the actual vacation everyone knows the plans. This also gives your elderly companions the opportunity to voice their concerns and maybe even their own "wish list."

Be aware of the person's physical limitations and take into account that walking great distances will be a slower endeavor for them. The good news is that most travel providers are experienced with dealing with a variety of physical challenges. For example, if you'll be flying just notify the airline that you'll need a wheelchair at curbside, and your elder will be whisked to the plane with no strain whatever. And remember, if you'll be having layovers make sure you schedule plenty of time to get from one gate to the next.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your elderly relative is probably used to a set routine, so try to work with that. For example, if they expect to rest every afternoon, the other family members can plan more active things at that time out of the timeshare.

"One of the main things I had to learn when traveling with my mom was patience," says Riley. "She still wanted to see and do everything. We did - we just had to do it more slowly."

But it's all worth it, Riley reminds us. The chance to re-connect, hear family stories, learn about things you may not have known, is inestimable. It's a wonderful opportunity, and shouldn't be missed.

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