“Over the river and through the woods” is an old adage of the holiday season, and for good reason. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are the most heavily traveled of the year, and despite popular belief, the vast majority of those heading out to see family and friends for the holidays aren’t hopping on a train, or taking to the skies. Instead, most people hit the road for a holiday road trip, and if you are going to be doing the same thing this holiday season, it is vital to plan ahead. As a family caregiver, you need to prepare not just for the road trip itself, but also for caring for your senior throughout the experience. Preparing for and managing your road trip properly helps to keep everyone safe and comfortable, and make the entire experience more enjoyable for the entire family.
Use these tips to plan and enjoy your holiday road trip for your aging parent:
- Choose your travel days carefully. Check road traffic forecasts in advance, and select days that will not be as busy. If you must travel on a particularly busy day, such as the day before Thanksgiving, plan for an early start, and get as much of your travel done by afternoon as possible.
- Prepare for your trip to take much longer than usual. Even if you have done this drive before, you cannot accurately predict how long it will take around the holidays, and when you are caring for an elderly adult. Prepare for the trip to take twice as long, or more, than predicted, particularly if you will be traveling through or near major cities.
- Plan for regular stops along the way. Stopping may make you feel like you are using up valuable transit time, but trying to push through can be miserable, and even dangerous, for your family. Sitting in the car for too long can put your parent, and even you, at risk for blood clots, as well as pain and stiffness in your joints. Prepare to stop every hour and a half to two hours, and get everyone out of the car to walk around.
- Do not overpack. Putting too much in the car will not only diminish gas efficiency, but can also make it more likely your family will suffer joint pain and blood clot risk because of not being able to move around enough.
- Encourage everyone to dress in lightweight clothing, but have a jacket and blanket available. This prevents overheating, but also keeps them comfortable.
- Have an emergency kit available in the car in addition to regular snacks and drinks. This kit should include blankets, towels, weatherization supplies for the car, emergency batteries for cell phones, a paper map, flares, food and water, and first aid kit.
If your parent is unable to accompany you on a holiday road trip, you might worry they won’t have access to the care they need, and you may be considering cancelling your travel and celebration plans. This is not necessary. Respite home care is there for you. Having a respite in-home senior care services provider with your aging parent while you are traveling means feeling confident your parent is getting everything they need to stay safe, healthy, and comfortable while you are gone. This lets you relax and enjoy your time away. Respite care steps in on a temporary basis to give care that fits with your senior’s ongoing care schedule and routine. This care provider gives your parent the customized care services they need to manage their challenges, support mental and emotional health, and ease your stress as you focus on your travels.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Plainsboro, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.