Road trips are a fun and exciting opportunity to spend quality time with your family at any point of the year, but during the holiday season they can be particularly meaningful. And during this time of year, being together is about making memories and enjoying traditions, and it’s going on a road trip is part of that, these experiences can be joyful and meaningful. Unfortunately, they can also lead to discomfort, frustration, and unpleasant situations if you don’t plan ahead and take certain steps to help everyone enjoy the experience as much as possible. As a family caregiver, this can be particularly important as you manage the challenges and needs of an elderly adult while also handling other aspects of your road trip. If this is the first road trip you’ll be taking with your senior after becoming their family and caregiver, or if they have developed new challenges and limitations since the last road trip, it is even more important to take the time to evaluate their needs and the specifications of your trip so you can make everyone as comfortable as possible and enjoy your time more.
Use these tips to make your holiday road trip as comfortable as possible:
- Avoid turning the heat up in the car too high. This can tremendously dry out the air which is uncomfortable for the skin, lips, eyes, and sinuses. This can also cause people in the car to become overheated and feel sick. Instead, keep the heat out of moderate level and encourage everyone to wear layers so they can adjust their personal temperature whenever necessary
- Don’t try to pack too much luggage into the car. Remember everyone in the car needs to be able to move around and change positions in order to keep themselves comfortable during a long drive. Especially for a senior, being able to shift their weight, change the position of their legs and otherwise move around reduces pressure on their joints, promotes circulation, and reduces the risk of blood clots. When packing the car, make sure luggage will not press up against anyone or block access to important features of the car or travel items, such as snacks or drinks
- Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for the road. Thirst or hunger pangs will quickly ruin a road trip, so make sure you have easy to eat food and beverages readily available to everyone in the car
- Even if you are not going on in extremely extended road trip or plan on driving during the day, encourage everyone to bring along a pillow and blanket. This can allow for more comfortable positioning within the car, and also promotes rest. Consider starting the trip with gifting each person a pillow and shading windows to block out sunlight and light from cars and street lamps for easier rest
- If someone in the car cannot put their feet flat against the floor due to height or other physical specifications, it is important to close this gap. Feet that are dangling, or the edge of a seat that presses into the legs rather than sitting at the crook of the knee can put tremendous pressure on the circulatory system. unopened cases of bottled water, cushions, and even inflatable devices created specifically for this purpose provide support so the person can rest their feet and their legs
- Make sure you have items such as lip balm and lotion easily available within the car. This can help to counteract the effects of the heater and the cold weather outside
As a family caregiver, your most important priority for your senior is giving them their best life. This means helping them handle their health issues, supporting mental and emotional well-being, and encouraging them to find meaning and satisfaction in this later stage of their life. Elder care can help you accomplish this. An elderly home care services provider can be a valuable source of support and to help your parent manage their needs in the ways that are right for them. Not only does this help them to stay safe and healthy as they age in place, but it also encourages them to stay more independent and enjoy a more engaged lifestyle. For you, this means feeling more confident your parent is living there highest quality of life, and a less stressful and more meaningful relationship with them.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Hamilton, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.