Road trips have become one of the best outdoor activities to pursue with friends or loved ones, but they do not need to be limited only to the younger audience. If you choose to take elderly passengers along with you on a journey, no matter the length, here are five ways to ensure their safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment of the trip.
Plan out your trip
Planning out your trip should be the first thing to check off the list. Using a physical copy of a map may not be as efficient nowadays, as there are many navigation apps you can download on your phone. With these apps, you can quickly configure your trip and even get on how to navigate any detours you might come across. Apps can also be a great help in locating gas stations with the most affordable places or locating nearby accommodation for the night.
If you would rather plan the trip yourself, then it is best to thoroughly research the roads, and familiarize yourself with the travel area.
During a pandemic like this, extra planning is definitely required. Of course there’s a lot less traffic right now, but many routes and destinations may be closed, or have different opening hours, as well as often requiring your group to queue outside for a while before entering the building.
This is where apps come in handy, being continuously updated with the latest information. Even just a simple search on the name of the place you’re heading to should yield images of any queues, traffic detours or other news stories that are currently occurring there.
A quick search the night before should have you well informed about restrictions like needing to wear a face mask that may be in place at your destination. But keep an eye on this through setting up alerts, since the situation is always changing.
Health and safety
Taking care of the health and safety of your elderly passenger should be the number one priority. Make sure all their health check-ups are up to date before the trip, and that you are fully supplied with any medications they might require.
In your inventory, it is essential to have a car first-aid kit for emergencies. This should include items such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, cold compresses, antibacterial wipes, and tissues. A good idea would also be researching specific items you might need for a specific destination (such as the beach or deep woods).
For your elderly passengers, it is crucial to make sure they stay hydrated along the way. Not only that, but you should make sure to take plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks to help maintain the passenger’s regular mealtime schedule.
Furthermore, even the most mundane things like multivitamins may need to be packed in a health and safety kit, since you want to minimize unnecessary stops.
Face coverings of some description are now also paramount for your kit when you visit a somewhat crowded area, especially when you’re travelling with elderly people. It is more important that these fit well than that they be the professionally-made branded kind – following one of the teatowel and hair tie tutorials out there would work great.
Some people say it is all about the destination, but the journey there is just as important. Sitting for a few hours in a car in complete silence may not be the most entertaining activity, nor is it beneficial for the driver, who needs stimulation to keep his senses active.
Before the trip, it is best to create a playlist that fits the taste of all passengers, and for that, you can use apps such as Apple Music, Spotify, or Google Play. A great alternative to music are audiobooks: using an app like Audible, you can gain access to an extensive list of audiobooks, or you can simply rent them from your local library.
Packing anything from books, magazines, to crossword puzzles, could prove to be an amazing way to stave off boredom for elderly passengers. Bringing a comfortable pillow is also essential, for those moments when they might want to rest.
Know What to Pack
Two challenges when it comes to road-tripping, are either under-packing or over-packing. It is vital to keep luggage light, which is why setting a bag number limit per passenger would be ideal. Wherever your destination, make sure you have access to laundry services, to keep your clothing luggage limited to the essentials.
Packing too lightly comes at a cost, too, as there might be some things that you forget or need during your trip. Keeping a checklist on you at all times can help solve this problem. However, don’t panic if you forget to pack some medication or toiletries: no matter where you’re headed, under normal circumstances you’re bound to find either a pharmacy or grocery store that sells the essentials, even if you must queue for a while to enter.
Car trips may be extremely uncomfortable for elderly passengers. While planning your trip, keep in mind that you will need to make frequent stops, not only for a restroom break but also for stretching and fresh air.
Temperature can also be a cause of discomfort, as older people might be more sensitive to air conditioning. Make sure to pack a light jacket or a lap blanket, to avoid making your passengers uncomfortable.
One other pandemic-related consideration to make would be to consider bringing portable fold-up chairs for seniors forced to queue before entering a building.
Road trips with seniors should not be any less fun than any other road trip. As long as you are considerate of their comfort, health, and overall enjoyment, your journey will become an unforgettable one.
Molly Crockett is a writer for Australianhelp.com. She loves communicating with her audience and sharing her unique lifestyle tips and personal development advice.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.